The Question of Palestine and the General Assembly
A general view of the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/Sophia Paris
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.
In 1974, the question of Palestine was re-introduced in the Assembly’s agenda. Resolution 3236 (XXIX) reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property. In 1975, the Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The question of Palestine and related issues have been the subject of numerous resolutions and decisions adopted by the Assembly’s regular, special and emergency sessions.
On 29 November 2012 the Assembly granted Palestine non-member observer State status in the UN. The relevant issues on the agenda of the Assembly and its subsidiary organs, such as the Human Rights Council include the right of Palestinians to self-determination, their sovereignty over natural resources, assistance, refugees, IDPs, UNRWA, human rights, Israeli settlements, peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, and Jerusalem, among others.