Last updated on: 5/23/2008 12:44:00 PM PST

Has UN Involvement Had a Positive Effect on the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict?

PRO (yes)

Edward Said, PhD, the late Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, in his 2003 book Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said, stated:

"The framework [resolutions 242 & 338] of the U.N. is absolutely essential [to resolve the question of Palestine]."

2003 - Edward Said, PhD 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) website (accessed Mar. 8, 2004), contained the following description of its activities vis-à-vis Palestinian Refugees:

"Since its establishment, the Agency [UNRWA] has delivered its services in times of relative calm in the Middle East, and in times of hostilities. It has fed, housed and clothed tens of thousands of fleeing refugees and at the same time educated and given health care to hundreds of thousands of young refugees."

Mar. 8, 2004 - United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) 

The UN's Question of Palestine website, in a portion of the May 9, 2002 Overview titled "History of the Palestine Question," contained the following:

"The involvement of the United Nations has been essential to the peace process, both as the guardian of international legitimacy and in the mobilization and provision of international assistance."

May 9, 2002 - United Nations (UN) 

CON (no)

Bernard Lewis, PhD, Professor Emeritus of near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, in his 2002 book The Arabs in History wrote:

"By a sad paradox, the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations and its agencies made matters on the whole rather worse than better. U.N. peacemaking could stop the fighting, but not make peace, and thus prevented a decisive outcome one way or the other.

The U.N. financed and operated refugee camps in Arab countries, at immense cost -- in the first twenty years the figure reached $700,000,000, of which the United States provided two-thirds. These camps kept the refugees alive, and spared them and the governments concerned the need to confront the alternatives of repatriation or resettlement. Many in fact found new careers, but generations later, most of them and their descendants in Arab countries other than Jordan remain stateless refugees.

All this is in striking contrast with the almost contemporary partition of British India, which ended with mutual recognition and the resettlement as citizens of vastly greater numbers of refugees."

2002 - Bernard Lewis, PhD 

Mitchell Bard, PhD, Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, in a 2004 entry on the Jewish Virtual Library titled "Myths & Facts Online, The United Nations," wrote:

"The record to date indicates the U.N. has not played a useful role in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict."

2004 - Mitchell G. Bard, PhD