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International Affairs   
Israel at the UN: Progress Amid A History of Bias
The Oslo Years: A Warming Atmosphere
September 2010


Overview
Early Biases
Resolutions 242 and 338
The Oslo Years: A Warming Atmosphere
1995-2000: Bias Resurfaces
2000–2004: U.N. Anti-Israel Bias and Anti-Semitism
2005–Present: Positive Developments, But Old Patterns Continue
Human Rights Council
U.N. on Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism

As the Middle East peace process got underway with Israelis and Palestinians signing the historic Declaration of Principles in 1993, there began to be a significant decrease in the number of anti-Israel condemnations at the U.N. It was then for the first time the Human Rights Commission condemned anti-Semitism as a form of racism. Then, in 1994, when Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres addressed the General Assembly, only the representatives from Iran did not attend. This contrasted markedly with the roll call of earlier years when it was common for Arab members to leave immediately when an Israeli was at the podium.

Israel's participation in U.N. operations, from which it had previously been barred, also began to increase. In June 1993, Israel was nominated to its first U.N. committee, the Committee for Information. In 1994, Israelis participated in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Angola and traveled to South Africa as part of a U.N. effort to monitor that country’s first democratic elections. At that time, Israelis also began to be elected to notable U.N. positions, such as the high administrative tribunal at The Hague, Vice Chair of the World Health Organization s Executive Committee and the Human Rights Committee.

In addition, efforts were made to amend a number of previously adopted anti-Israel resolutions. In 1992, the GA passed 29 anti-Israel resolutions, but in the years following, seven were eliminated or consolidated, and four were redrafted in favor of Israel. In 1995, the GA adopted 18 Middle East resolutions, eight of which were then reworded to refrain from condemning Israel.

In 1993, as part of the attempt to revise outdated anti-Israel resolutions, the U.N. amended the group of resolutions, adopted each year by the GA, known as the Question of Palestine:

The resolution, entitled, The Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine, was revised to omit its reference to Jerusalem as occupied territory, as well as its charge against Israeli settlements as illegal obstacles to peace.

The resolution entitled, Situation in the Middle East was revised to omit condemnation of Israel's presence in the territories.

Also in 1993, the annually adopted GA resolution entitled Israeli Nuclear Armament was revised to eliminate its severe criticism of Israel.

Moreover, between 1993 and 1995 the Security Council never directly condemned Israel. During this period, the Security Council, for the first time, also denounced terrorism against Israel.

The most central resolution passed during this warming trend toward Israel came on December 14, 1993 when 155 member states endorsed the Israel-Palestinian signed Declaration of Principles and the Israel-Jordan peace agreement and granted full support for the achievements of the peace process so far. This resolution was the first U.N. call for Middle East peace that did not criticize Israel. In fact, many viewed this improvement between Israel and the international community as actual U.N. support for some Israeli government policies. In October 1993, for the first time since 1981, the Arab members of the U.N. did not challenge Israel's seat at the GA.



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