Security Council Open Debate on The Middle East: April 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The UN Security Council met on April 24, 2013 to address the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. As the Syria tragedy deteriorates, the progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process remains central to ensuring the region's further destabilization.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman opened the debate briefing the Security Council on the current situation in the region. Israel and Palestine addressed the Security Council followed by some 44 speakers in day-long debate

General Analysis

The Under-Secretary-General addressed several key issues in the Middle East at the moment, emphasizing the increased level of risk across the region, with on going violent conflicts in Syria, Israel and Palestine. Priorities included tragedy in Syria and its dramatic humanitarian consequences, both in country and in neighboring countries. He addressed the challenges Lebanon and Jordan are facing as they are front line of the Syrian conflict and must be supported by the international community. In addition he spoke of the action that must be taken on Israel / Palestine issue.

“There is now an opening to develop a meaningful initiative to achieve the negotiated two-State solution that will best serve the interests, rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians,” he said, briefing the 15-member body on recent developments. A critical point was approaching for the viability of the peace process. “Whether that prospect solidifies or vanishes will depend on the direction that leaders on both sides chose to take,” he said, as well as on the level of regional and international support for new efforts.

Overarching themes emerging from many of the member state's official statements included resounding support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis and the need for international community support of Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq for their continuing support of Syrian refugees.

Gender Analysis

Women's specific needs in this region were not addressed at the open debate. A few examples were given of violent against women and children as the “most vulnerable” but no strategies were offered to prevent or eliminate further violence.