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UN to hold meeting on the protection of Palestinian civilians

April 29, 2016 5:40 P.M. (Updated: April 29, 2016 5:40 P.M.)
UN Security Council at the UN headquarters on July 20, 2015. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A UN Security Council meeting is expected to be held on May 6 in effort to pave the way for drafting a new resolution for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN announced.

Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, announced a security council decision to hold an informal, open meeting on implementing protection for Palestinian civilians, during a press briefing Wednesday. 

A legal scholar associated with Cambridge University and a former legal advisor for UNRWA will attend the meeting, including an expert from Amnesty International. A representative of the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din is also expected to attend. 

The meeting was organized by council members Egypt, Senegal, Venezuela, and Malaysia.

A future resolution would follow a long line UN resolutions aimed at protecting Palestinian civilians including resolution 904, which called for the presence of international observers and the disarmament of illegal Israeli settlers after the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre of 1994 that saw 29 Palestinians killed by an armed settler. 

Mansour said he sees the upcoming meeting as a much-needed step to begin discussions on how to implement practical strategies for protecting Palestinians living under a decades-long military occupation. 

He intends the meeting to result in the drafting of a new resolution that can reflect the collective responsibility of the Security Council to adequately respond to the realities of Palestinians experiencing daily violence by armed settlers and Israeli forces. 

Citing the Security Council’s position on the illegality of Israeli settlement building and the presence of settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, Mansour said the next step is to construct a clear initiative condemning the relevant Israeli policies. 

The ambassador advocated for posting international observers in the occupied Palestinian territory, highlighted that Israeli forces and settlers often act less aggressively toward Palestinians in the presence of observers.

Mansour said the upcoming meeting would not be affected by recent discussions of postponing a UN resolution draft on settlements following pressure from France and other countries ahead of the upcoming French peace initiative. 
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