UN Chief Suggests UN Armed Forces to Protect Palestinians

The protection of Palestinian civilians could be improved by the deployment of UN-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 United Nations General Assembly requested the report in a resolution adopted in June that condemned Israel for excessive force against Palestinian civilians and denounced the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas.

The resolution asked for proposals to ensure

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

Armed UN peacekeepers or armed forces from a group of like-minded states operating under a United Nations mandate could be deployed to offer physical protection, Guterres said. This option, however, would need a Security Council mandate and the United States, 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 well-being issues and provide local mediation, Guterres added. 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 United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council.

Source: Palestine Chronicle