News ID: 220051
Published: 0752 GMT August 18, 2018

UN chief suggests options for improved Palestinian protection

UN chief suggests options for improved Palestinian protection
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media after a meeting with Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado at the Presidential House in San Jose, Costa Rica, on July 16, 2018.

The protection of Palestinian civilians could be improved by the deployment of United Nations-mandated armed forces or unarmed observers, a beefed-up UN civilian presence or expanded UN assistance, Secretary General Antonio Guterres wrote in a report on Friday.

The UN General Assembly requested the report in a resolution adopted in June that condemned Israel for excessive force against Palestinian civilians, Reuters reported.

The resolution asked for proposals to ensure “the safety, protection and wellbeing of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including ... recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism”.

Guterres outlined four options, but he did not make a specific recommendation. He noted that all options would need the cooperation of both sides, a sustained cessation of hostilities and additional resources to ensure they were viable.

“The combination of [Israel’s] prolonged military occupation, [the regime’s] constant security threats to [Palestinians], weak political institutions and a deadlocked peace process provides for a protection challenge that is highly complex politically, legally and practically,” he wrote.

Armed UN peacekeepers or armed forces from a group of like-minded states operating under a UN mandate could be deployed to offer physical protection, Guterres said. This option, however, would need a Security Council mandate and the US, a close ally of Israel, would likely wield its veto.

A UN or non-UN civilian observer mission could be deployed “with a specific mandate to report on protection and wellbeing issues and provide local mediation”, Guterres said. This would also need a UN-mandate.

A third option could be expanding current UN programs and development and humanitarian aid to address the needs of Palestinian civilians more effectively and strengthen Palestinian institutions, he wrote.

The final option could be to send additional UN human rights, coordination and political officers to boost monitoring and reporting on the situation and increase the UN’s visibility, Guterres said.

The General Assembly resolution requesting the report was adopted with 120 votes in favor, eight against and 45 abstentions. It was put forward in the General Assembly after the US vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council.



Resource: Reuters
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