The United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) was established and is being developed by the Division for Palestinian Rights in response to successive General Assembly mandates. The main collection contains the texts of current and historical United Nations material concerning the question of Palestine and other issues related to the Middle East situation and the search for peace. UNISPAL contains the English texts with a growing number in the other official UN languages.
The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations, composed of representatives of all Member States. The question of Palestine was first brought before the General Assembly in 1947. By resolution 181 (II), the Assembly decided to partition Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish, with Jerusalem placed under a special international regime. After the 1948 war, the Assembly by resolution 194 (III) of 1949 established the Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) to help the parties reach a final settlement, while reaffirming the rights of Palestine refugees to return and restitution. UNRWA, a Palestine refugee agency, was established by the Assembly the same year.
Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Since 1948, the Council has addressed the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question on many occasions. When fighting broke out, the Council has called for, or ordered cease-fires.
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States, responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.The Council inter alia appoints the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 whose task is to assess the situation, report publicly about it, and work with governments, civil society and others. The human rights situation in Palestine is also considered in the context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Council has dispatched fact-finding missions to investigate violations of human rights, such as the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict in 2009, the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza flotilla in 2010, and the UN fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements in 2012.
A permanent feature of the Council’s agenda is Item 7 on “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”. In March 2016, the Council voted to produce a database of all business enterprises conducting activities in or related to Israel’s settlements.
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is at the heart of the UN system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits. ECOSOC is a gateway for UN partnerships and participation by civil society.
Over the course of the past years a series of resolutions have been adopted by ECOSOC on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian population; on the situation of, and assistance to Palestinian women and on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Action by UN System and IGOs Relevant to Question of Palestine
This study places the problem in its historical perspective, emphasizing the national identity and rights of the Palestinian people, it surveys the course of the problem during the period of the League of Nations Mandate and shows how it came before the United Nations. It also cover the period of United Nations involvement in the problem.