UN Security Council on the Palestinian Situation, 9246th Meeting

UN Security Council on the Palestinian Situation, 9246th Meeting
by Per Krohg via Wikimedia Commons


Vivien Fakhoury

Middle East and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

On the 18th of January 2023, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) convened for its 9246th meeting to discuss the situation in the Middle East, specifically the Palestinian question. The atmosphere in the chamber emanated a trial of Israel. The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, began with a briefing of the essential events and documents that predate the meeting and set its context. [1] The most commonly discussed issues in everyone’s statements were the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Resolution 77/400 requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories [2] and Israel’s punishment of Palestinians as a reaction to this resolution; as well as Israel’s National Security Minister Ben-Gvir’s visit to al-Haram al-Sharif, which garnered international condemnation. [3] 

The first to give a statement was Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, proudly displaying the Palestinian flag badge on his suit. With regard to Israel’s punishment of Palestinians as a retaliation for the UNGA Resolution, he questioned why “impunity is enjoyed by those [Israel] who violate the law, and collective punishment is endured by those who are entitled to its protection.” Mansour reminded the chamber of statements made by various Israeli officials that repeatedly mock the ICJ and the UN and its resolutions as a “victory for terror.” He said Israel “lives in a parallel dimension where the entire world is wrong, and they are right,” and rather than abiding by the international laws that everyone has collectively agreed upon, they expect the world to change its rules to cater to their perspective. At this point, Israel is not hiding its intention to violate international law by expanding illegal settlements, and therefore, he urges the UNSC to ensure accountability and peace. [4]

“What we have just witnessed, as always, is an act. An academy award-winning act of false victimization,” was the first sentence uttered by Israel’s Gilad Erdan. He used his statement to “uncover the distortions” in the UN’s reports that 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians, [5] arguing they are based on false, unverified data and flawed methodology, and that Israeli deaths are underreported. “The result is a compilation of lies and half-truths,” and “This may have been the deadliest year, but only for Palestinian terrorists, and it was clearly the year with the most terror attacks committed against Israelis,” he highlighted. He stated that Israel’s punishment of Palestinians cannot be considered unilateral, since the “toxic ICJ resolution” is what makes it a bilateral fight. In his opinion, Palestine weaponizes and manipulates the ICJ and UN to commit “multilateral terror,” and Israel maintains its right to protect itself as such. Although Palestine’s Mansour left the chamber during his statement, Erdan directly called him out, “Save your false cries of victimhood. From now on I will use these debates to unmask your lies in front of the world,” and he concluded, “Your charade is up. I see right through your lies and soon enough, this entire Council will too.” [6]

Contrary to Israel’s claims, no one else debated the integrity of the UN reports and rather reaffirmed the stated facts. The representative of the League of Arab States even argued it is Israel attempting to distort the facts. Generally, all countries in the chamber reiterated their support for the two-state solution, along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, as stipulated by international resolutions and laws. Arab nations emphasized that the peace, stability, and security of the region depends on it. A majority of the countries have signed the UNGA Resolution and therefore, condemned Israel’s “unilateral,” retaliatory behavior. Lebanon’s representative went as far as to say that “such illegal measures reflect the fear on the part of Israel of the advisory opinion by the ICJ.” [7]

On the 5th of January, the UNSC called an emergency meeting to discuss Ben-Gvir’s controversial visit to al-Haram al-Sharif. [8] Neither Palestine’s Mansour nor Israel’s Erdan addressed it here. Nearly all others did mention it and condemned Ben-Gvir’s move, stating it compromised the status quo of the holy sites of Jerusalem, undermined the peace process and the Kingdom of Jordan’s custodianship, and disrespected Jew’s, Christian’s, and Muslim’s equal right to the sites. [9]

Other topics discussed by some but not by others included: affirming Israel’s status as apartheid state; the importance to support UNRWA financially; the optimism of the Negev Forum in Abu Dhabi and normalization between Israel and Arab countries to aid with the peace process; the need for Israel to withdraw from all Arab territories, specifically Syria’s Golan; Algeria supporting Palestine’s right to become a permanent member of the UN; the EU dedicating a significant part of its statement to call out Syria, and Syria refusing to respond; Iran denying Israel’s accusations; and last but not least, there was significant disappointment with the UNSC’s non-implementation of resolutions and inaction, to uphold international security as is stipulated in the charters. [10] To conclude, South Africa said it best, “If nothing is done we will meet again in a months time and lament even more violence and deaths. Is that why the UN was created? We ask ourselves. To receive reports on violations of human rights and international law … without attempting to say or do anything?” [11]


[1] Wennesland, T. (2023, January 18). Briefing To The Security Council On The Situation In The Middle East. https://unsco.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/security_council_briefing_-_18_january_2023_0.pdf from https://unsco.unmissions.org/security-council-briefings-0

[2] Benoy, A. (2023, January 3). General Assembly seeks Advisory Opinion from ICJ. GHRTV. https://ghrtv.org/general-assembly-seeks-advisory-opinion-from-icj 

[3] Salman, A., Nasser, I., & Gotkine, E. (2023, January 3). Israel's far-right Ben Gvir visits flashpoint Jerusalem holy site as Palestinians slam 'provocation'. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/01/03/middleeast/israel-palestinians-jerusalem-ben-gvir-intl/index.html 

[4] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18). The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question - Security Council, 9246th meeting. https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1x/k1xxm58yas 

[5] Canetta, A. (2022, November 13). 2022 likely to become the “deadliest year” for Palestinians in the West Bank. GHRTV. https://ghrtv.org/2022-likely-to-become-the-deadliest-year-for-palestinians-in-the-west-bank 

[6] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18) from [4]

[7] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18) from [4]; United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18). (Continued) The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question - Security Council, 9246th meeting. https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1c/k1cqr2h7vv

[8] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 5). Meeting Record: The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/PRO/N23/007/06/PDF/N2300706.pdf?OpenElement from https://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick/meetings/2023 

[9] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18). Both from [7]

[10] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18). Both from [7]

[11] United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2023, January 18). (Continued) from [7]

Further Reading:

Research Guides: UN Security Council Meetings & Outcomes Tables: 2023 (S/RES/2671- ). (n.d.). UN Research Guides. https://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick/meetings/2023 

Security Council Report. (2022, December 29). The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, January 2023 Monthly Forecast. https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/monthly-forecast/2023-01/the-middle-east-including-the-palestinian-question-10.php 

United Nations Meeting Coverage. (2023, January 18). With 2022 Deadliest Year in Israel-Palestine Conflict, Reversing Violent Trends Must Be International Priority, Middle East Coordinator Tells Security Council | UN Press. https://press.un.org/en/2023/sc15179.doc.htm