Come 2017, the United Nations will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s longstanding unresolved political problems firmly entrenched on the UN agenda: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dating back to the Six Day War in June 1967.
When Antonio Guterres takes over as the new UN Secretary-General on January 1, he will inherit a rash of ongoing political and military conflicts, including the six-year-old civil war in Syria, the devastating bombings in Yemen, the Shia-Sunni killings in Iraq, the widespread political chaos in Libya, renewed violence in the Central African Republic, the continued atrocities in Darfur and South Sudan and the rise of global terrorism.
But one of the most elusive problems — crying out for a solution despite half a century of negotiations and unimplemented Security Council resolutions —will be the demand for a Palestinian homeland.
As Guterres told reporters December 12: “We need a surge in diplomacy for peace when we see this multiplication of new conflicts — and old conflicts that seem never to die”.
Perhaps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems destined to live forever—and has never shown signs of dying in 50 long years.
Mouin Rabbani, Senior Fellow with the Institute for Palestine Studies and Contributing Editor at Middle East Report, told IPS: “As the UN commemorates the 50th year of Israel’s occupation, we need to recognize that the world body is in many respects but a shadow of the organization it was in 1947, when the General Assembly adopted a recommendation to partition Palestine, or even 1967 when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip commenced.”