What Does Historical UN Vote on Palestine Means?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 4:10:42 by

On 30th November 2012, in a historic session of the United Nations held at New York, the General Assembly exactly after 65 years of passing the Partition Plan for Palestine recognized Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member state. This was made possible when 138 member states of the United Nations voted in favor of the resolution, whereas 41 abstained and 9 voted against it.


The vote is historic on account of elevating Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” and holds significance as for the first time the member states voted against the wishes of Israel and US. Moreover, it came on the heels of an eight-day conflict between Israel and Hamas fighters, where a series of airstrikes and rocket launches threatened regional stability drawing international attention.


But knowing what exactly does the “non-member observer state” means, what was Palestine’s position at UN before this vote, what did it asked for comparative to what it has accomplished will actually help people better understand the significance of this historic vote along with exploring what does the future holds for Palestine and whether or not there is any possibility of change in US and Israeli stance?


By becoming a Non-member observer state at UN General Assembly means Palestine is now free to submit a petition to join as a full member at their discretion. To Palestinians, this vote constitutes an important endorsement of the legitimacy of their claim to statehood, in addition to potentially strengthening their leverage in talks with Israel.


In terms of applicable advantages, it will contribute to Palestinian admission to the International Criminal Court where Palestine will be able to ask the body to investigate acts committed by Israel as potential war crimes. As previously in April this year, the ICC blocked a request to investigate the 2008-2009 Gaza war on its discretion giving the reason that it’s up to other bodies to determine whether the Palestinians is a state. Now as it beholds status of non-member observer state, ICC can look up to Palestinians investigation reports.


Next in line, how Palestine got to this stage is a question of importance? It all started in 2011, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (holding “permanent observer” status at the U.N. since 1974) launched its initial bid for U.N. membership in response to the failing of the Sep, 2011 deadline set by U.S. President Barack Obama for the successful negotiation for a two-state solution with Israel. But the plan was suspended a month later when it became apparent that the bid is not accepted by 9 of 15 Security Council permanent members.


Conversely, the bid for non-member observer state was launched as unlike a bid for full membership, to get recognized as a UN non-member state only requires winning a majority vote among the 193 members of the General Assembly without the threat of a Security Council veto.


And this time Palestinian strategy worked well for them. Commenting on the Palestinian victory, many analysts believe that Palestine would be seen as being a state in terms of international law and international relations. Whereas some say, the observer state won’t make the difference that is imagined by the advocates of this move. Instead, U.S. Congress might further restrict aid to the Palestinians at a time when the Palestinian Authority is in dire need of that.


The disapproval of Palestinian win became clear when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the resolution “unfortunate and counterproductive”. Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister’s office also reacted to the decision stating that, “This is a meaningless decision that will not change anything on the ground. By going to the UN, the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel and Israel will act accordingly.”


However apart from this critical reaction Palestinians argue that admission even as a non-member observer state at the UN will strengthen their position in peace talks with Israel on core issues that divide them like the status of Jerusalem, the fate of the settlements, the precise location of borders, the right of return of Palestinian refugees, water rights and security arrangements. The Palestinians present the step as necessary to protect their right to self-determination and a two-state solution.


Though there is a long way ahead for Palestine to achieve what it actually asked for i.e. full membership at UN. But nevertheless, UN acceptance of Palestine even as a non-member observer state would have greater impact as the UN is the overarching world body and a source of authority on international law.


Coming over to what the future hold for Palestine is a question that depends on how well do the Palestinians cooperate with each other and stand firm together to claim and get their recognition as a state.


Though the cheers are roaring in Palestine today, but initially this bid to be a non-member state failed to excite public opinion in the same way as the bid to get UN membership did in 2011. Moreover, the build-up to it has been more low-key partly on the reason that it was only backed by Mr Abbas’s Fatah movement, was agreed with representatives of other groups in the PLO, and was initially criticized by senior figures in Hamas. Not did until recently, after eight-day Israeli military offensive on Gaza, this bid succeeded to get all Palestinian parties and factions onboard.


As far as the chance of change in US and Israel’s stance on the issue is concerned, it is idealistic to say that a 65 year old thinking can convert soon but seeing the global perspective and the way the countries around the world have turned considerate towards Palestine and the way they call on special regional meetings on this issue; do hold the possibility that Israel may come to table of negotiation for resolution of this problem that is deteriorating its image globally.


Whereas for US, siding with Israel is effecting its worldwide representation; being a world global superpower, giving green light to Israel’s attack on Gaza, refusing Palestine’s support calls for immediate ceasefire and now opposing a decision of 193 states on an issue is something that it should take seriously. Everyone studying the situation has an understanding that via this support U.S. is trying to gain leverage with Israel to stop it from dragging into a war with Iran but on Iranian matter also, states have given their thoughts by maintaining diplomatic ties and giving a go ahead to hold a NAM Summit in Iran. Thus, US need to revise its policies and bring them in consensus with stance of majority of the states instead of keeping itself aside from streamline.

Short URL: https://www.newspakistan.pk/?p=35643

Posted by on Dec 3 2012. Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Join WishFree.com

Photo Gallery

Unique Auction UAE
Log in