(CNSNews.com) – Amid a wave of jihadist terrorism in France, Sinai, Lebanon and Mali, members of the United Nations met on Monday to focus on “Palestine,” with several speakers accusing Israel of fueling the violence across the region.
“The continued Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territory is the main challenge before the international community to achieve peace and stability in the region and the world,” said Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi, in a speech read out by his representative.
“This occupation represents the main cause for the spread of terrorism and extremist ideology in the region,” he said.
“Failure to find a just solution to the Palestinian cause – as the core issue in the Middle East – has started fueling conflicts in the region, threatening to affect international peace and security,” said Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani.
In a speech read on his behalf by an envoy, Madani also accused Israel of carrying out “aggressions against the blessed al-Aqsa mosque” warning that its actions “feed extremism, violence and racism and contribute to igniting religious strife that would endanger the prospects of peace and stability in the region.”
The leader of the Islamic bloc called on the international community to intervene urgently, saying finding a solution depends on “applying pressure on Israel to cease its continuing aggression against the Palestinian people.”
The OIC’s members include some of the most volatile and terror-affected countries in the world, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia and Pakistan. None of the conflicts in those countries are related to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
U.N. officials themselves have sought to draw a link between jihadist terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
Last Thursday, the U.N.’s “special coordinator on the Middle East peace process,” Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council that resolving the Palestinian issue would help counter the extremism behind the “abhorrent terrorist attacks” in Paris, Beirut and the Sinai.
“We cannot separate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from this global threat,” he said.
Monday’s meeting in New York kicked off an annual intensive U.N. focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This year’s U.N. “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinia People,” Nov. 29, falls on a Sunday so was marked instead on Monday.
Later on Monday, the U.N. General Assembly began considering a raft of reports and draft resolutions related to two ongoing agenda items, “the question of Palestine” and “the situation in the Middle East.”
(At the U.N., the “situation in the Middle East” does not refer to the situation in the Middle East writ large – for example, to developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran – but deals solely with Israel and its relations with the Palestinians and neighbors like Syria.)
‘Biased resolutions and empty symbols’
Since early October, a spate of Palestinian terrorism has killed 22 Israelis in knife and gun attacks in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. According to Palestinian officials 90 Palestinians have been killed over the same period. Israel says many of those were killed while carrying out attacks.
The surge came amid tensions surrounding a Jerusalem site revered by Jews and Muslims, known by the former as the Temple Mount and the latter as the Haram al-Sharif. Israel accuses Palestinian leaders and media of inciting violence by accusing Israel of somehow threatening the al-Aqsa mosque which is located there.
Most of the statements delivered at the “Palestine” committee session on Monday morning were silent on the issue of the anti-Israeli terror attacks.
An exception was a statement by U.N. deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson, who referred to “heinous attacks, stabbings, shootings and attacks” which he said caused “immense suffering among Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
For his part, Arab League chief al-Arabi described the situation as follows: “While the world seeks to achieve just peace, the occupied Palestinian territory sees volatility since early October,” he said, adding that Israeli practices have “led to the killing of many Palestinian people, most of whom are women and children.”
“The Israeli right-wing extremist government made racist decisions allowing extremist settlers and the military to kill Palestinians and use live ammunition against them,” al-Arabi added.
Speaker after speaker accused Israel of racism, “apartheid,” violation of Islamic sanctities, torture, dehumanizing behavior, and acting “above the law.”
Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon blasted the world body for again promoting resolutions that lay the blame solely on Israel.
“Let no one be fooled. No amount of biased resolutions and empty symbols will bring the change that the people of the region so desperately need,” he told the General Assembly.
“You can raise a Palestinian flag here in the U.N., but as long as the Palestinians fail to raise a generation committed to peace and reconciliation, there will be no end to violence,” Danon said. “As long as those in this chamber do not demand that Palestinian leaders make the difficult decisions needed for peace, no rhetoric will improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”