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The question of Palestine at the UN

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The question of Palestine at the UN

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For those who strive for world peace, the United Nations is undoubtedly the "hope of humanity." It was born of a resolve to create a more just world order, where human rights are guaranteed, and disputes are mediated by negotiations.

These lofty ideals are too often mired in power politics, rendering the UN ineffective in its mission. Some examples of problems unresolved by the UN:

  • Cyprus, occupied and divided since 1974.

  • Congo Conflict - millions die while the UN is helpless.

  • Tibet, occupied since October 1949  - The longest occupation of a country that is larger than Western Europe.

  • Darfur - Government repression and violence have killed over 400,000 people there.

  • Burma - Living under a totalitarian regime

  • Women's rights issues such as executions for adultery, genital mutilation.

However, there is one place and one issue that gets a lot of attention at the UN. It is not even a country. It is:

 The Question of Palestine

The Question of Palestine - UN Web site

Question of Palestine logo from the UN Web site
 un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/ operated by the
Division for Palestinian Rights

"Palestine" is not a country, but it has received more attention from the UN than any country. All of that attention is directed at discrediting, delegitimizing and destroying a member state of the UN - Israel. The UN Secretariat is organized into seven divisions that cover the entire world. One of those divisions is the so called Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR).  DPR staffing is roughly equivalent to that of the Americas and Europe Division, the Asia and the Pacific Division, and each of the two African divisions. DPR has a full time staff of 16, whereas the entire Asia and Pacific division has a staff of 20!

Can you believe it?

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Question of Palestine: United Nations Division for Palestian Rights

Question of Palestine :Web site of the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights  http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpalnew/dpr.htm

The DPR was created in 1977 by UN General Assembly Resolution  3240. It contains several departments, created as a result of Arab agitation after the 6 day war and with the aid of oil embargo blackmail after 1973. In this period, the General Assembly had passed the odious Resolution 3379, stating that "Zionism is Racism". This resolution was appealed in 1991, but the theme is carried forward by the DPR.

The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Practices Affecting the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (SCIIHRP) was created in 1968, and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) was created in 1975.

Together, these activities receive an annual budget of about $5.5 Million. In addition, over half a million dollars are spent on "Information Activities on the Question of Palestine," which has been in the budget of the UN Department of Public Information since 1977, separate from the budget of the DPR. There is also a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. That function was created in 1993, apparently to torpedo the Oslo accords signed in the same year.  The special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The post was renewed even after the UN  Human Rights Council was reorganized because of absurdities such as election of Libya as chairperson. However,  it is impossible to trace all the money spent on anti-Israel propaganda, because the funding is hidden in bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council, which spends an inordinate effort on "Palestine" and in UNRWA, which diverts funds that are supposed to be spent on supporting Palestinian refugees. UNRWA has a budget of about $35 million according to one source, but a different source has them requesting a budget of over $1 billion for two years. 

The DPR constitutes a base for organizing anti-Israel propaganda around the world. It exists to fulfill the goal of destroying a member state of the UN. The "inalienable rights of the Palestinian People" include the right of all Palestinian refugees to "return" to homes in Israel abandoned by their ancestors in 1948. This would end the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It is contrary to international law, which upholds the right of self determination (see Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees in International Law).

A key function of the DPR and CEIRPP in undermining the existence and legitimacy of Israel and the legitimate right to self determination of the Jewish people is its connections with NGOs and the conferences it organizes in support of the destruction of Israel. The DPR maintains several Web Sites packed with anti-Israel propaganda. The Division provides support and services to CEIRPP programs including a round-robin of international conferences such as those discussed below. It networks with over a thousand NGOs (non-governmental organizations)  regarding the "question of Palestine." It promotes ant-Israel and anti-Semitic programs of those NGOs by linking to their materials from its Web sites.

DPR organizes an annual "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People," mourning UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, which called for the Palestinian Mandate to be divided between a Jewish and an Arab state. In the ceremony of 2005, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stood under a map that had erased Israel and showed "Palestine" in its place. Speeches were made honoring suicide bombers.

The DPR prepares reports and publications on the "inalienable rights of the Palestinian People" and distributes them in cooperation with the UN's Department of Public Information. The DPR also develops and maintains the Web-based United Nations Information System on the question of Palestine - UNISPAL. UNISPAL with the UN Department of Public Information, generates anti-Israel press releases, sends television footage to international broadcasters friendly to the Palestinians and hostile to the Israelis, and e-mails anti-Israel news stories to about 30,000 subscribers.

Between 2002 and 2005,  the DPR and CEIRPP organized ten international conferences to disseminate anti-Israel material to diplomats, NGO's and representatives of other UN agencies. Conference resolutions and themes include "Zionism is racism," undermining the boycott of the Hamas, ending the occupation "which began in 1948," and initiating anti-Israel divestment and boycott campaigns.

DPR and related activities generate resolutions condemning Israel, which are given the legitimacy of the UN. In turn, anti-Zionists can point out that Israel has been the subject of numerous condemnations. These resolutions undermine the peace process by supporting terrorism, opposing Middle East quartet policies and calling for the destruction of Israel.

Question of Palestine: NGO Activities

The DPR is a hub for organizing and controlling conferences like the obnoxious World Conference against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, August 2001, which turned into an organized lynch against Israel, Zionism and Jews, ignoring almost all other problems of racism in the world as well as egregious violations of human rights by Palestinians. NGOs distributed cartoons of bloodthirsty grasping Jews, with blood dripping from their fangs, and similar materials. The Durban conference branded Zionism as Racism.

Other examples of conferences organized by the DPR and CEIRPP in recent years:

  • September 13-14, 2004 -- New York - “Ending the Occupation,” castigated quartet peace efforts, called for boycotts of Israel.

  • May 11, 2005- New York - At its 285th Meeting,  CEIRPP Chairman Badji (Senegal) reported on the “Peace in Palestine” NGO Conference held in Malaysia (March 28-30), at which he represented CEIRPP.  The Action Plan adopted by the Malaysia NGO conference states that that the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is Israeli occupation “from 1948 onward” (i.e., the founding of the State of Israel).

  • July 12-13, 2005 -- Paris Conference participants urged "greater U.S. and Israeli diplomatic isolation through the greater commitment of more governments everywhere to the Palestinian cause.” Their Action Plan  calls for a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, deliberately modeled on the anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa.

  • December 13-14, 2005. -  Caracas, Venezuela - UN’s Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) meeting calls for implementation of Right of return. 

  • April 26-27, 2006, Cairo - CEIRPP Conference to break the boycott of the Hamas government and support the Hamas, which calls for destruction of Israel and refuses to make peace.

Question of Palestine: NGO Accreditation

CEIRPP also uses its accreditation mechanism as a lever for enlisting support of NGOs for destruction of Israel and disseminating the views of those NGOs. Accreditation brings with it a number of entitlements, in particular, the wider dissemination of the NGO’s views by way of the UN website, UN conferences, and publications. To be accredited to CEIRPP: “The NGO should…support…the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily its right to self determination;…[and] have demonstrated that it has concerted programmes or the serious intent to establish such…in support of the achievement of the inalienable rights. This has forced NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to endorse the "right of return" for Palestinian Arabs. One of the newest additions to the CEIRPP accredited NGO list is BADIL, a Palestinian  refugee 'advocacy' group that was instrumental in organizing "resistance" to any peace agreement that did not include the "right of return." When moderate Palestinian Sari Nusseibeh called for Palestinians to relinquish the "right of return," BADIL branded him a traitor.

CEIRPP Web sites  link to accredited NGOs and help to disseminate their views, giving them the legitimacy of the UN, including views that justify and promote terrorism and racism, such as these:

That Star of David, which we are told is originally a religious symbol, symbolised hate and evil. Even today, I couldn’t imagine a more hateful sign.

[S]o-called ‘anti-semitism‚’ has now become the single most important element of Jewish identity.

[A]nti-semitism has been taking place for 100 years in Palestine, against the Palestinian Arab semites, by European Jewish colonialists. A mini-holocaust.

Zionism is against true Torah Judaism. But Zionism is even more than that; Zionism and anti-Jewish feelings are faces of the same coin of racism. In fact Hitler talked about the "great movement" of Zionism (because both he and they agreed that Jews have no place in Europe)...

We denounce the racist and colonial character of Zionism, Israel’s State ideology.

[W]e must recall Ben Gurions [sic] doctrine: ethnic cleansing became an integral part of Zionism. If Palestinians cannot be removed by massacres and expulsion, they shall be removed by extermination.

Zionist apartheid, racism, and settler-colonialism in Palestine… is violative of the most basic human standards…Thus, the Palestinian resistance is justified.

[T]he suicide bombers…have been nurtured by the high unemployment, the harassment of the checkpoints, the death of a loved one and sometimes the need to redeem themselves from having been recruited as collaborators in the Israeli prison camps.

Question of Palestine The UN in the Peace Process

The UN Division for Palestinian Rights functions to torpedo the Middle East peace process in these ways:

  • Support for Hamas

  • Legitimation of terror as "resistance."

  • Insistence on "Right of Return" of Refugees as a condition of peace - a condition that would destroy Israel.

  • Opposing the work and policies of the quartet and the Middle East Road Map for peace

Given the non-stop propaganda against Israel sponsored by the UN, is it any wonder that Israel cannot trust the UN to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?

Question of Palestine: US call for abolition of the UN Division for Palestinian Rights.

Statement by Anne W. Patterson, Deputy United States Representative to the United Nations, On Agenda Item 124: Proposed program budget for the biennium 2006-2007, in the Fifth Committee, October 27, 2005:


The U.S. seeks the abolition of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and of the Division for Palestinian Rights because both are inimical to the aim of ensuring that UN monies are directed to our highest priorities and in achieving a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To be clear, the U.S. has consistently opposed the annual UNGA resolutions authorizing these entities and their activities. The number of resolutions adopted, civil organization accredited to the Committee, website pages viewed, as well as positive evaluations of the Committee’s report are meaningless indicators. The United States strongly opposes the use of scarce UN resources to support the biased and one-sided political activities carried out by the Committee.

The United States is working closely with its Quartet partners and other states to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to take concrete steps toward fulfilling their obligations under the Road Map and to achieving President Bush’s vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Our goal is a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. These biased UN programs do not further that goal of the world community. And now especially, with increased prospects for peace with Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Palestinian elections and steps to take greater responsibility for good governance, such programs only undercut the chances of a durable, just peace.

The Question of Israel

Israel is systematically discriminated against in UN committee membership, and has never been a rotating member of the UN Security Council. It is now a temporary member of the Western European Regional Group, and scheduled to be a candidate for Security Council membership in 2019. Don't hold your breath!

The Question of Palestine: Conclusions

The Organization of Islamic States and other Muslim and Arab lobbies have subverted the UN to provide a base for a wide network of propaganda against a member state, using the cover of UN legitimacy and financed by UN member states. These functions, organized by the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR), the UN Commission on Human Rights and other bodies, undermine the peace process and spread racism, hate and support for terror. The DPR continues to exist because of the automatic majority that Arab states can command in the UN through the Arab Lobby that functions in various countries. European countries have also supported anti-Israel initiatives on occasion. The continued existence of the DPR is a blatant example of discrimination. A disproportionate amount of UN resources and time are devoted to the question of Palestine, at the expense of human rights issues around the world. 

Ami Isseroff

Take action - Write to the EU ambassador to combat anti-Israel discrimination

Copyright - Please link to this page at https://zionism-israel.com/issues/The_Question_of_Palestine.html

Read this report on the UN Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

And this report on the UN Commission on Human Rights

Durban Conference on Racism

Durban Conference on Racism - Durban Daze

Other reports (PDF format)

Question of Palestine: Regrettably, the UN Remains Inhospitable to Israel

Question of Palestine: UN Bodies Undermine Chances for Middle East Peace:




Additional Links and Information:

Eyes on the UN


UN Watch (UN Watch.org


 Israeli personality Mehereta Baruch and American-Israeli basketball star LaVon Mercer tell us Zionism is not racism.

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