Blocked from becoming UN members, Palestinians appeal to the General Assembly

Blocked from becoming UN members, Palestinians appeal to the General Assembly
Blocked from becoming UN members, Palestinians appeal to the General Assembly

After the American veto on their full membership in the UN, the Palestinians should obtain on Friday thanks to the General Assembly some additional rights within the organization, a symbolic advance which has already provoked the anger of Israel.

Faced with the war in Gaza, the Palestinians, who have the status of “non-member observer state”, relaunched their 2011 request at the beginning of April demanding to become a full member state of the United Nations.

To succeed, such an initiative requires, before a vote by the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority, a positive recommendation from the Security Council. But the United States vetoed it on April 18.

So the Palestinians decided to turn to the General Assembly, where according to several observers and diplomats, they should receive a large majority.

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The draft resolution presented by the United Arab Emirates “notes that the State of Palestine meets the conditions required to become a member” of the UN, and “should therefore be admitted to the Organization”.

He thus requests that the Security Council “favorably reconsider the question”.

A more than improbable prospect given the position of Washington which opposes any recognition outside of a bilateral agreement between the Palestinians and their Israeli ally, whose government rejects the two-state solution.

“We could find ourselves in a sort of disastrous diplomatic loop with the Assembly repeatedly calling on the Council to accept Palestinian membership and the United States vetoing it,” commented Richard Gowan, analyst at the International Crisis Group.

In this perspective, the text plans to grant without delay “exceptionally and without this constituting a precedent”, a series of “additional rights and privileges” to the Palestinians from the 79th session of the Assembly in September.

Unambiguously excluding the right to vote and to be a candidate for the Security Council, the text allows them, for example, to submit proposals and amendments directly, without going through a third country, or to sit among the member states in alphabetical order. .

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“We build a building brick by brick. If some think it’s symbolic, for us it’s important. We are moving towards our natural and legitimate right to be a full member of the UN,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told a few journalists on Thursday.

“It is the symbol that is important”, also judged Richard Gowan, referring to a “clear message” thus sent to the Israelis and the Americans.

Israel also castigated the initiative in advance.

The vote “will grant the Palestinian Authority the rights of a de facto state,” denounced Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, seeing it as an attempt to “circumvent the Security Council and violate the Charter of the UN”.

The United States also expressed reservations.

“We are concerned that this will set a precedent,” said U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood.

The first version of the text, seen by AFP, was more ambiguous, granting “the State of Palestine rights and privileges” in the Assembly, “on an equal footing with member states”, without listing these rights.

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But the new version “is in accordance with the Charter”, assured Samuel Zbogar, ambassador of Slovenia currently a member of the Security Council. “It (…) does not touch elements which only belong to the Member States”.

While Israel continues its offensive in Gaza, in retaliation for the unprecedented attack by the Islamist movement Hamas on October 7, this vote will allow the Palestinians to count their support and, if necessary, to prove that without the American veto in the Council, they would have the necessary votes in the Assembly to validate membership.

Last December, 153 countries out of 193 supported the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza (10 votes against, 23 abstentions).

Challenge (with AFP)



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