As world leaders gather at the UN, the violation of Palestinian rights must be on the agenda

Israeli border guards block a street to Palestinians in the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 18 June 2021. (credit: Mosab Shawer / AFP / Getty Images)
The UN played a crucial role in defeating South African apartheid – it is time to investigate Israel’s unequal regime.

By Hanan Ashrawi & Lakhdar Brahimi | The Guardian |  Sept 25, 2021

The Palestinian people – whether under occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, inside Israel or living as refugees and forced exiles – has waited for decades for the UN to implement the tens of resolutions it has adopted in support of Palestinian rights.

This week, world leaders have gathered in New York for the 76th session of the United Nations general assembly, struggling to prove its continued relevance in a bruised world. The major themes so far have been the climate crisis, vaccinating the world against Covid-19 and the new regime in Afghanistan – and rightly so. But there is another issue that also demands our attention, where progress could restore faith in the general assembly’s ability to act: the deepening regime of Israeli Jewish supremacy over millions of Palestinians, which has been recognised by more and more observers as a regime of apartheid. We join many global leaders in calling for the general assembly to investigate this regime, and consequently take the necessary measures of accountability to dismantle it.

Last year, in response to Israel’s plans to annex further land in the occupied Palestinian territory, we were joined by tens of Arab civil society leaders and diplomats in calling for sanctions against Israel and defending the right of Palestinians to engage in legitimate resistance, including through boycott, divestment and sanctions. This is to safeguard not just the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine, particularly to self-determination, but also the sanctity of the international rule of law.

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