Staying Power: Survival of Christians in the Holy Land

This is an excerpt from “Staying Power: Survival of Christians in the Holy Land” by Stacey Atkins, MTS. The entire document discusses the issues of Christians living in the Holy Land. Below is an excerpt that addresses the various resolutions that have been passed by the United Nations (UN) regarding Palestine and Israel.

United Nations Resolutions

There are many U.N. Resolutions referring to the conflict in Israel and Palestine. General Assembly Resolution 181, of November 29, 1947 “…endorsed the partition of the then-British mandate Palestine to create two states: one Israeli, one Arab.”[1] General Assembly Resolution 194, of December 11, 1948 states “…refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”[2] This included Israeli refugees who fled many countries in World War II. Charles M. Sennott, journalist and Middle East Bureau Chief for the Boston Globe, discusses Resolution 194 in his book, The Body and the Blood: The Middle East’s Vanishing Christians and the Possibility for Peace:

Before the end of the year [1948], the United Nations General Assembly would pass Resolution 194, the first of twenty-eight different U.N. resolutions to affirm the right of Palestinians to return home. Yet it was never implemented and would remain at the core of the conflict a half-century later. The Israeli government has countered that the “right of return” should also apply to Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries.[3]

Of particular interest to this study is Security Council Resolution 242, adopted unanimously after the Six-Day War, on November 22, 1967. The Resolution refers to the “…inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security.”[4] Paragraph one of the resolution affirms:

…that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

  1. Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.
  2. Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries from threats of acts of force.[5]

Another resolution that has application for this subject is Resolution 338, adopted on October 22, 1973 calling for a cease-fire in the Yom Kippur War. The resolution:

Decided that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.[6]

On December 16, 2008 Security Council Resolution 1850 was adopted endorsing the bilateral peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. This resolution:

…approved the Quartet principles as a basis for international legitimacy and support for any Palestinian government, namely recognition of Israel, an end to violence, and acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.[7]

As well intentioned as these U.N. Resolutions are, they have not been an effective means to bring about an end to the violence. The terms of the resolutions are not kept by either party for various reasons. A certain amount of trust is required that has not been built between the parties involved. The illegal occupation by Israel continues without any ramifications for Israel. Terrorist acts are still being perpetrated by the Palestinians extremists. Something else must be done to bring a resolution to the intolerable situation.


[1] -resolutions#181 (Accessed November 27, 2011).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Charles M. Sennott, The Body and the Blood: The Middle East’s Vanishing Christians and the Possibility for Peace (New York: Public Affairs, 2001), 84.

[4]      (Accessed November 25, 2011).

[5] Ibid.

[6] (Accessed November 25, 2011).

[7] (Accessed November 27, 2011).


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