The United Nations Security Council has lost any authority to broker an end to the Jewish-Arab conflict - after its 26th July Quarterly Open Debate: “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” proceeded for 5 hours without any speaker making reference to a new solution emanating from Saudi Arabia to resolve the 100 years-old conflict.
That Saudi solution – the merger of Jordan, Gaza and part of the 'West Bank' into one separate territorial entity to be called “The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine”- had been published on 8 June in Al Arabiya News.
The article was written by Ali Shihabi – a confidante of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – Saudi Arabia’s next King and driving force behind NEOM – a $500 billion megacity of the future to be erected in Saudi Arabia on an expanse of land the size of Israel.
The Security Council’s silence in commenting on this Saudi solution ever since its publication has been arrogant and breathtaking. This solution offers an alternative to the solution unsuccessfully pressed by the UN for the last 29 years: The creation of a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan.
The Security Council had an obligation to notify UN member States of the emergence of this new solution since its last Quarterly Debate and encourage the members to consider its pros and cons as a replacement for the UN plan that was clearly dead in the water.
The Security Council and its vast bureaucracy could certainly not claim ignorance of this Saudi proposal.
I myself had written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres representative Stephane Dujarric on 30 June enclosing a copy of the Al Arabiya article - inviting the Secretary-General to comment on the solution for inclusion in an article I was writing.
No reply was received - so my article was published on 4 July.
A reminder letter sent to Dujarric on 19 July for a comment to use in future articles met the same fate.
The roll call of those speaking at the Security Council debate without mentioning the Saudi solution is mind-boggling:
- Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) Lynn Hastings
- The observer for the State of Palestine
- Representatives of Israel, United States, China, Algeria Cuba, Malaysia, South Africa, Lebanon, Japan ,Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Russian Federation, Albania ,Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, India, Norway, Mexico, Brazil, Iran, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan,
- Türkiye, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Bahrain,
- Azerbaijan (speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement), Argentina, Republic of Korea.
- A representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer
- The Permanent Observers for the Holy See, the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
- The Vice Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Representatives of the "State of Palestine", Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – the parties most affected by the proposed Saudi solution - can be excused for not discussing the Saudi Plan - as they had been engaging in secret back-channel negotiations almost from the day the Saudi Plan was made public.
By the time this Security Council debate was held, significant agreement had already been reached on acceptable starting points for those negotiations to continue.
This debate marks one of the lowest points in United Nations history – one when it abdicated its obligation to prevent conflict and acted instead to ensure its perpetuation
The Security Council’s attempt to bury the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution rather than encourage its serious consideration - will fail.
The Security Council has sown the seeds for its own demise.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.
David Singeris an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979