Security Council must take over Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts – UN rapporteur

20 October 2006

The Security Council should assume responsibility for finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of leaving it to the diplomatic Quartet, which is increasingly perceived within the region as biased and has done little to stem the deteriorating human rights situation, a United Nations rapporteur has told the General Assembly.

The Quartet – which comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States – was too influenced by certain powers and the UN role had been undermined and minimized as a result, John Dugard told the Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) yesterday.

Mr. Dugard, who is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, also expressed misgivings about the Road Map, the Quartet-sponsored plan which calls for Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in two States.

The Road Map was entirely within the control of the Quartet, and that grouping had not shown itself to be impartial, he said, noting its stance on the imposition of economic measures following the election of a Hamas-led government in January.

In response to questions from Committee delegates, Mr. Dugard said he did not think the Human Rights Council or General Assembly could achieve much on this issue and it was therefore up to the Security Council to assert responsibility.

Israel and the Palestinians must also begin direct talks as soon as possible, especially on the issue of the permanent status of the Palestinian territories.

Mr. Dugard said the situation inside the Palestinian territories had worsened markedly since late June. In the Gaza Strip, Israel had conducted a brutal assault that was excessive and without military purpose, wrecking key infrastructure and creating a humanitarian crisis. In the West Bank, Israel continued to build a separation barrier that left Palestinians cut off from schools, hospitals and workplaces.

Following criticism by Israel’s representative on the Committee that his report was one-sided, Mr. Dugard said it was understood that his mandate was limited to investigating human rights violations by Israelis and not by Palestinians.

 

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