In an open letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday 24th of January, members of the Global Network on the Question of Palestine urge him to lead a radical change in vision and approach by the UN and its member states, in a way that addresses the root and core causes of the unresolved Palestinian question and re-establishes the primacy of international law.
The letter expressed grave concerns for the security of Palestinians and fears for a return of escalation with the arrival of the new Israeli far right coalition government under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. In its statements, the new Israeli government declared its intentions to continue and expand annexation policies “in all parts of the land of Israel”, which violate the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people and other norms of international law.
The letter pointed out that past peace efforts started from a false premise: that two markedly unequal parties would be able to negotiate an end to the conflict. Instead, this approach consolidated the position of the coloniser, in violation of the most fundamental norms of international law. Respect of these norms is a condition for any solution and cannot be a matter for negotiation.
A fundamental shift in strategy by the UN and its Member States is therefore necessary to ensure the full realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
The letter calls for “bold and courageous leadership” from the Secretary-General, to prevent unprecedented bloodshed and chart a feasible path to peaceful and just resolution, and reassertion of the leading role of the United Nations in the Question of Palestine guided by its permanent responsibility towards the Palestine question and primacy of international law, as well as an extensive body of UN resolutions. The letter recommends that in anticipation of the upcoming advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, UN policies should be realigned to prioritize respect for international law not negotiations.