Palestinians Plan to Revive Bid for UN Recognition

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says timing of the request in asking the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine as observer state will be decided next week by the Arab League.

By The Associated Press


The Palestinian Authority has announced that it plans to reapply for U.N. recognition. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that the timing of the request would be decided next week by the Arab League.

Gaining U.N. recognition requires a prospective state to achieve a two-thirds majority at the U.N. General Assembly. – Photo credit: Reuters

Gaining U.N. recognition requires a prospective state to achieve a two-thirds majority at the U.N. General Assembly, in addition to a majority of nine votes out of 15 at the U.N. Security Council. In September 2011, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an official request for U.N. recognition, which was met with international support from many countries. Both the Palestinian Authority and Israel admitted that if put to a vote in the General Assembly, the Palestinian Authority would probably manage to gain the necessary two-thirds majority. But the U.S. has also voiced its opposition to the attempt, and as one of the Security Council’s five permanent members, warned it would veto any vote there to recognize a Palestinian state.

The details of the Palestinian campaign called for a recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. The request elicited strong opposition from Israel, which calls the move a unilateral attempt to achieve statehood.

Although the Palestinian Authority has not managed to receive official U.N. recognition, it has been recognized as a state by UNESCO, the U.N.’s science and culture agency, in October 2011. Following UNSECO’s decision, the U.S. withdrew funding for the agency, while Israel increased building in the settlements and halted funding to the Palestinian Authority. UNESCO recently came under criticism from Israel for creating a position at Gaza University.

After the U.S. declared it would exercise its veto rights, Palestinian leaders said they would be willing to compromise and seek non-member observer status in the General Assembly. Gaining non-member observer status is an intermediate stage that would allow the Palestinian Authority to submit a petition later for full U.N. member status. This would allow the future state of Palestine to sue Israel in international courts for events that took places as part of the conflict, and accordingly would allow Israel to sue Palestine.


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