why the massive support of the UN General Assembly for Palestinian membership is a turning point, despite the American veto

why the massive support of the UN General Assembly for Palestinian membership is a turning point, despite the American veto
why the massive support of the UN General Assembly for Palestinian membership is a turning point, despite the American veto

“I have stood at this podium hundreds of times, but never for a more important vote than today, historic.” The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, had his voice tight with emotion, Friday, May 10, while speaking from the podium in New York (United States), before the vote on a resolution proposing to recognize that the Palestinian Authority deserves to be a full member of the United Nations.

In total, 143 of the 193 member countries voted in favor, including France. Nine countries, including the United States and Israel, voted against, and 25 abstained, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Ukraine. This resolution, presented by the United Arab Emirates, “establishes that the State of Palestine should be allowed to [déposer sa candidature d’adhésion] to membership status” And “recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably.

It therefore directly urges the Security Council to review its copy concerning the full membership of the Palestinians in the UN, of which they are today observer members, while the United States has blocked this request since 2011. American diplomacy used its veto again on this issue on April 18, reiterating its support for Israel. The two countries also warned on Friday that if the issue returned to the Security Council, there would be “a result similar to April”.

This resolution therefore only has a symbolic value, but constitutes a small event on the diplomatic level, as affirmed by the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed Issa Abushahab, who declared that it would have “a significant impact on the future of the Palestinian people”. However, she “does not do justice to the State of Palestine”, believes the ambassador. Because Palestine retains its status “non-member observer state”which it has owned since 2012, and therefore does not have the right to vote on resolutions of the General Assembly, nor to propose candidates to UN agencies.

But even if the General Assembly cannot bypass the Security Council, this massive vote proves that, without the American veto, the Palestinians would have the two-thirds majority necessary to be able to submit a candidacy. It also testifies to Israel’s growing isolation on the international scene. Even if these measures are largely symbolic, “it’s the symbol that’s important”assures AFP Richard Gowan, analyst at the International Crisis Group, referring to a “clear message” thus sent to the Israelis and the Americans.

While Germany and Italy abstained, a sign that the European Union appears very divided on the issue, France chose to support the text. Permanent member of the UN Security Council, Paris thus publicly breaks with the position of the United States. “It is time to place the action of the United Nations in the perspective of a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the two-State solution. This is the only one capable of meeting security needs of Israel, as well as the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians for statehood”, declared Nicolas de Rivière, French ambassador to the United Nations, in his speech on Friday. During the vote in the Security Council in April, he also spoke in favor ofa difficult and complete accession of Palestine.

Australia, which usually aligns itself with American positions, has also marked a shift in its diplomatic line by supporting Palestine’s membership in the UN. Its Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, said her country was now open to recognizing the Palestinian Authority during a peace process, “and not necessarily at the end of the peace process”as spotted by Guardian. The British daily sees this as a change “modest, but significant”.

Since the American blocking of Palestinian membership in the UN at the Security Council on April 18, “Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have been added to the list of countries which have bilaterally recognized the Palestinian state, i.e. 144 to date”, relieving The world.

The text grants 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 UN General Assembly in September. These are mainly protocol rights. The Palestinian mission will now be able to sit in the General Assembly among other states in alphabetical order, rather than occupying its current observer seat at the back of the chamber.

Palestinian diplomats will also have the right to submit proposals and amendments, they may be elected to official positions throughout the Assembly and in committees, and they will have the right to speak on issues relating to the Middle East. They will also be able to make statements on behalf of groups of nations within the assembly.

However, the resolution has been largely watered down in recent days, in order to obtain as many votes as possible in its favor. As pointed out The world, “the original version of the text planned to grant the Palestinians, who have occupied an observer member seat since 2012, the right to vote.” This point has been abandoned”to help rally the greatest number of supports and send a strong political message to the Council”observes daily life.

“In essence, it makes the Palestinians look like a member of the UN, but without the basic attributes of a true member, namely the right to vote and the right to present to the Security Council,” summarizes Richard Gowan, United Nations director at the International Crisis Group, in the Guardian.

Despite the little concrete progress granted to Palestine by this text, it constitutes a clear paradigm shift, which provoked the anger of the Israeli ambassador at the UN platform. “You are shredding the United Nations charter with your own hands,” Gilad Erdan said, shredding the cover of the document with a paper shredder. “Shame on you !”, he insisted, adding: “Today you welcome a terrorist state into your ranks. You have opened the United Nations to modern Nazism. It makes me sick.”

Israel also asked the United States on Friday evening to reduce its funding for the UN, in reaction to this vote. A group of elected Republicans in the US Senate, where they are in the minority, even announced that they were going to present a bill to this effect. “The United States should not give credibility to an organization that actively encourages and rewards terrorism. By granting any status to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at the United Nations, we are doing just that. would do”, Senator Mitt Romney said in a statement. “Our legislation would end U.S. taxpayer funding to the UN if it grants additional rights and privileges to the Palestinian Authority and the PLO”he warns.

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