Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
President Truman considered himself Israel's midwife, but in many ways, it was the UN that served in that capacity. Interestingly, as Daniela Huber points out, Israel can also be seen as the midwife of a series of UN mechanisms. The Israel-Arab conflict, including the core Israel-Palestinian conflict, has served as a testing ground for the first UN refugee agency (UNRWA), the first UN mediator (Bernadotte), and a series of peacekeeping missions (UNTSO, UNEF, UNDOF, UNIFIL). The UN and the Israel-Palestinian conflict are thus deeply intertwined, and Daniela Huber does an excellent job at demonstrating and analyzing how the issue has been treated at the UN; how this treatment has developed over time; and how a variety of UN members have addressed the issue at the UN. By analyzing all opening speeches at the UNGA by Egypt, EU, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, Huber gives us a thorough presentation of what she calls the 'International script of the Palestine/Israel question'. Through such a vast discursive dataset she is able to demonstrate the development of individual national scripts as well as developments within the broader international script. She shows how the global script gradually became tied to the US 'peace process' framework, but that recent years have seen international developments breaking this pattern. The International Criminal Court approach, the position of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, and ESCWA's 'Apartheid report' indicate a possible shift towards making the occupying power accountable. There is much to be learned from Huber's excellent account for readers interested in the UN, Israel/Palestine, or both.