The Question of Palestine and the Security Council

A Conference Officer at work in the Security Council Chamber, ahead of a Council meeting. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

A Conference Officer at work in the Security Council Chamber, ahead of a Council meeting. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

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. It also dispatched military observers, and deployed UN peace-keeping forces in the region. The Council has set the basic principles for a negotiated peaceful settlement (known as the “land for peace” formula) by its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The Council has, on numerous occasions, expressed concern about the situation on the ground, declared null and void the measures taken by the Israeli Government to change the status of Jerusalem, called for the cessation of Israeli settlement activity, which it determined to have no legal validity, reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and called for the return of Palestinian deportees. The Council has repeatedly called for the immediate resumption of the negotiations within the current Middle East peace process with the aim of achieving an early final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. The Council affirmed the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognised borders, by its resolution 1397 (2002), and endorsed the Quartet’s (UN, Russia, US and EU) Road Map by its resolution 1515 (2003). The Council receives monthly briefings and holds periodic open debates on the issue. In 2011 President Mahmoud Abbas submitted the application of Palestine for UN membership, currently before the Council. By resolution 2334 (2016)  the Council demanded that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities.

Security Council Web Site

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SC’s Resolutions on Question of Palestine