Israel Rejects Palestinian Right of Return at UN Meeting
The Israeli UN ambassador Gilad Erdan said on Thursday that Palestinians “have no right to return” to their homes, sparking outrage from the Palestinian envoy and other Security Council members.
Erdan told the council that the demand of returning millions of descendants of refugees to Israel would “obliterate the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, and this will never happen.”
He also accused the UN of being biased against Israel and supporting “terrorist organizations” such as Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is a “settler-colonial occupation” that violates international law and human rights.
He said that there are more than 700,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while 5.9 million Palestinian refugees are denied their right to return to their homes.
He called for the implementation of UN resolutions that call for an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He also urged the international community to take action to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, from Israeli aggression and provocation.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount, is a flashpoint of tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli forces and extremist Jewish settlers frequently raid the compound, triggering clashes with Palestinian worshippers.
The Security Council meeting was held amid rising violence in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces have killed dozens of Palestinians in recent months. The council expressed its concern over the situation and called for restraint and dialogue.