UN chief presents Palestinian Protection Proposals

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Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian protester following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the West Bank town of Tulkarem .

Among the UN’s proposals for protecting Palestinians is a UN-mandated armed military presence. All of the proposals would need the cooperation of both Israelis and Palestinians, which could prove difficult to achieve.     

Palstinians gather during clashes with Israel in Gaza (Imago/Zuma Press/D. Abo Alkas)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday presented four possibilities to improve the protection of Palestinian civilians.

The proposals were outlined in a report requested by the UN General Assembly in response to increased violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since late March.

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The four options include

  • Providing a “more robust UN presence on the ground” with rights monitors and political officers to report on the situation.
  • Additional UN humanitarian and development aid to “ensure the well-being of the population.”
  • Creating a civilian observer mission to be present in sensitive areas such as checkpoints and near Israeli settlements, with a mandate to report on protection issues.
  • Deploying an armed military or police force, under a UN mandate, to provide physical protection to Palestinian civilians.
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Protection ‘highly complex’

Guterres said every option would require the cooperation of Israelis and the Palestinians, but it remained unlikely that Israel would agree to the proposals.

“The combination of prolonged military occupation, constant security threats, weak political institutions, and a deadlocked peace process provides for a protection challenge that is highly complex politically, legally and practically,” Guterres wrote.

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“The best way to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population is still the negotiation of a comprehensive, just and final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he continued.

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law/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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