U.N. issues summary of protection forces as Palestinians requested


  • World
  • Thursday, 22 Oct 2015

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday released a summary of past international protection regimes for disputed territories as requested by the Palestinians, though he made clear he was not recommending one for holy sites in Jerusalem.

The report was issued after Ban held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. After two days of Ban's discussions in the region, there were no signs weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence were ending.

The 42-page report does not focus on the successes and failures of the various protection regimes but merely describes their structures and legal bases.

It was Abbas who originally requested the report's release. The Palestinians have been calling for an international protection force to be deployed at Jerusalem's holy sites.

In a cover letter accompanying the report, Ban told the 15 Security Council members that "this paper does not propose any particular system ... for the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

Diplomats said on condition of anonymity that the French had suggested that the Security Council ask the United Nations to prepare a report weighing options for a protection regime for Jerusalem's holy sites, but the United States, Israel and others opposed it.

The chief Palestinian U.N. delegate, Riyad Mansour, told reporters last week he hoped circulation of the protection regime report would encourage Security Council members to consider a force for the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, a site that is holy for both Jews and Muslims.

The historical summary of protection regimes goes as far back as the early 20th century. One of the first examples is the Free City of Danzig, which after World War One was a predominantly German city in the territory of Poland.

The report released on Wednesday describes how Danzig was placed under the protection of the League of Nations, the United Nations' failed predecessor, under the Treaty of Versailles, the peace agreement that came after the war.

The report mentions Palestine, which after World War One was administered by Britain on the basis of a League of Nations mandate. Britain in 1947 handed the issue to the U.N. General Assembly, which prepared a report on the issue of Palestine that called for a partition.

The summary report also refers to Jerusalem, which had a special international regime administered by the United Nations. That regime ended in 1967 when Israel took control of all of Jerusalem during the six-day Arab-Israeli war.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Tom Brown)

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