My Turn: The failure of the United Nations

People gather during the Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023.

People gather during the Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. AP PHOTO/YUKI IWAMURA


Published: 02-07-2024 7:08 PM

My goal in writing is trying to point out the ongoing superpowers’ hypocrisy with their inability to connect the dots in order to recognize the Earth’s fragility.

The following are several highlights of the United Nations charter: 

“We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

Article 1, The Purposes of the United Nations are: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

The U.N.’s existence was approved on Oct 24, 1945 by the five permanent members of the Security Council — United States, United Kingdom, France, Soviet Union and China — and by the majority of the 46 nations.

It’s ironic that four out of the five original Security Council members are the leading arms merchants of the world. It’s also important to note since the formation of the United Nations, warfare has continued around the globe, some of it scrupulously ignored while other events are marginally recognized by the founding members.

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For 2023, the regular U.N. budget totaled $3.4 billion, nearly one-quarter of which is for special political missions.

On Jan. 24, the U.N. court ordered Israel to ensure acts of genocide are not committed in Gaza. The court stopped short of South Africa’s request to order an immediate cease-fire.

Throughout 1947, the U.N. special counsel on the Palestinian question recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The U.N. adopted Resolution 181 that would divide Great Britain’s Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948.

The area of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the surrounding area would remain under international counsel by the United Nations.

The U.S. Department of State recommended a U.N. trusteeship and a division of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab provinces but not states. Harry Truman decided to recognize the state of Israel, but not a Palestinian state.

The original plan called for an economic union between the proposed states for the protection of religious and minority rights.

The Arab higher committee, the Arab League and other Arab countries rejected the plan. They also rejected any form of territorial division, arguing that it violated the principles of self determination in the U.N. charter.

What is not generally discussed in the current Israeli-Palestinian war is the West’s continued insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. The Gaza Marine natural gas field 22 kilometers off the coast of Gaza is estimated to contain more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. BP has a license arrangement and is acquiring Israeli Delek Group, owned by NewMed Energy.

It’s not the first time the United States, Great Britain or France has supported a corrupt government in order to control the natural resources required for the Wests unwavering need for fossil fuels.

There are currently 193 United Nations member states. What’s the point of a United Nations if its sole existence cannot be justified at this critical juncture of history?

Don Simms lives in Northfield.