(UNHQ, New York, July 1, 2016) The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), attempted to introduce language condoning terrorism under certain conditions into a draft of a UN Counter-Terrorism Resolution. The official document is expected to be finalized on Tuesday when the General Assembly concludes a bi-annual Review of its UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
The OIC, an organization of 57 member-states that considers itself “the collective voice of the Muslim world”, has Permanent Delegations to the United Nations as well as to the European Union. Several days prior to the start of the Review, OIC Representative Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi (Saudi Arabia) sought to insert the following clause to the draft of the resolution:
“Terrorism in the name of self-determination and national liberation does not constitute terrorism.”
Shortly after Rep. Al-Mouallimi addressed the General Assembly, Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador David Roet delivered an impassioned and powerful speech.
“The UN must decide if wants to be a relevant actor in facing the challenges of terrorism in the 21st century, or does it prefer to cave in to the narrow political interests of a number of member-states,” Roet proclaimed from the podium.
Roet invoked the particularly bloody past few days in Israel that saw a 13 year old girl stabbed to death in her bed and a father shot to death in front of his family.
“One day, two parents have to bury their child. And on the next day two children bury their father. Do these murders not constitute terrorism? Do these attackers not constitute terrorists?”
Subsequent to Ambassador Roet’s speech, some significant diplomatic maneuvering by the Israel’s Mission to the UN, and a steadfast refusal on Israel’s part to allow member-states to compromise draft language for the sake of a unanimous consensus, the clause was ultimately not included in the final draft of the review, entitled “The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review”. The day also coincided with the release of a much anticipated report, in the works since February, by the so-called Middle East Quartet: The UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union.
In it, the Quartet refrained from assigning blame to one side but reiterated its position that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace. The report also provided recommendations regarding what it believes are the major obstacles to achieving a negotiated peace: continued violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, incitement to violence, settlement construction and expansion, and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control in Gaza.