Brussels—The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) is a unique mechanism at the political level of the United Nations that commemorates its 40th year of establishment. CEIRPP is comprised of a group of Members States that share a mandate in the UN’s highest authority (UNGA) with “a permanent responsibility toward the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy.”

On 7–8 September 2015, CEIRPP and its secretariat, the Division for Palestinian Rights, organized an International Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Brussels, the capital of Europe. Convening under the theme “Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace - possible ways forward,” states delegations, experts, academics, jurists, CSOs, municipalities and members of the general public attended the frank debate on the situation on the ground, legal aspects and prospects for “the two-State solution.”

Thus, the conference addressed a particular set of inalienable rights and a particular set of the Palestnian people under the UN’s “permanent responsibility.” However, within this aspect of the Palestine question, the conference was able to establish certain principles for CERIPP to take into the timely debate in the General Assembly’s 70th session. The notable messages include:

  • The need to uphold the correct legal language related to the Palestine question, addressing crime of population transfer (as opposed to mere “obstacles to peace”), including colonization (the implantation of colonists and colonies), in Israel’s continuous process of de-Palestinization of the country;

  • Liability of third parties (state and nonstate) as accomplices to the prohibited acts and cimes;

  • States’ obligations of nonrecognition, noncooperation, nontransaction with the illegal situation, as distinct from consumer “boycott”;

  • Unacceptability of negotiating “land swaps” with Israel;

  • The need to apply all available tools of law and diplomacy, rather than reliance upon dishonest brokers;

  • While the legality of “prolonged occupation” is an interesting forensic subject, more useful would be the adjudication of existing codified crimes;

  • Israel bears the characteristics of “apartheid” and “a terrorist state”;

  • With 70 years of impunity, many other regional forces are now following Israel’s example.

On the next day, 9 September, CEIRPP hosted “Consultations of the Committee Delegation with civil society organizations active on the question of Palestine.” The co-chair of CEIRPP, H.E. Maria Rubiales de Chamorro (Nicaragua) represented CEIRPP and Joseph Schechla (HIC-HLRN) moderated the CSO discussion.

Bashar Jum`a Jamal (Defence for Children International-Palestine) and Pierre Galand (European Coordinating Committee on Palestine) made substantive presentations, while representatives of 12 other CSO intervened with recommendations for further cooperation with CEIRPP. Among these was a proposal to focus on the numerous commemorations on the question of Palestine that coincide in 2017, as well as the repeated call to reconstitute the Committee against Apartheid in the UNGA, building the legal findings in UN treaty bodies to inform and advance discourse in UN political bodies and guide their functions.

The CSOs will collect further civil society inputs for CEIRPP’s consideration. Other CSOs active on the question of Palestine are encouraged to send their recommendations for a joint compilation before the end of September 2015 with the subject “CEIRPP Input” to

Photo on front page: Opening panel of the CEIRPP International Meeting. Photo on this page: Joseph Schechla (HIC-HLRN) addresses the participants.