Palestinians Optimistic on UN Recognition bid

By Ali Al-Bassam
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

Palestine — Palestine is set to renew a bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations (UN), which could strengthen their position in becoming a recognized state.  The UN General Assembly is expected to pass the resolution, recognizing Palestine as a nonmember observer state on Thursday.  Palestine is currently listed as an “entity” with no voting rights.

The UN will vote to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state this Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

Out of the 150 countries expected to support the resolution is France, giving Palestine a boost in their efforts for recognition.  Eleven members of the European Union (EU) are also expected to support the resolution.  Norway and Switzerland are planning to vote for the recognition.

Britain will vote for the resolution only if it receives assurances from Palestine that it will not use the recognition to attack Israel through the international judicial system.  Britain seeks public commitments “that the Palestinian Authority would not take advantage of the resolution to act against Israel in the international court in The Hague and that it would commit to immediately renewing peace talks without preconditions.”  It has yet to receive these assurances.  “The first [assurance] is that the Palestinian Authority should indicate a clear commitment to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a message to Parliament.  “The second assurance relates to membership of other specialized UN agencies and action in the International Criminal Court.”

Germany and the Czech Republic also plan to vote for the recognition, but only if Palestine makes the assurances Britain demands.

Initially, Palestinian officials refused to make such assurances, but may change their tone if it means additional support.  Palestine officials believe that ICC accession is a discussion that can be held at a later date.  “It’s not for any country to get the Palestinians to relinquish their rights.  And if Israel is innocent, it has nothing to fear from the court,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive.  Ashrawi considers the vote to be a “last ditch effort” in recognition.  “We believe that the two-state solution is in jeopardy because of [Israeli] actions.  We want to ensure that the world is still committed to the establishment of a sovereign viable democratic free Palestinian state to interact as an equal,” said Ashrawi.

Countries that do not support the move include Israel, the United States, Canada, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands.

Knesset member Ahmad Tibi believes that the Palestinian’s bid will be successful, and will change future negotiations between it and Israel.  “The future political situation will be completely different for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Netanyahu will not meet with [Palestinian] President Abu Mazen (Abbas) to take photos only,” he said.  Tibi considers the vote a “defining moment in the history of the Palestinian people.”

For further information, please see:

Haaretz — In Historice Vote, UN set to Award Palestinians Observer Status — 29 November 2012

Ma’an News Agency — Tibi: UN bid Will Change Future Negotiations — 29 November 2012

Al Arabiya — Global Support Grows for Palestinian UN bid — 28 November 2012

Al Jazeera — Palestinians to Renew UN Statehood bid — 28 November 2012


Author: Ali Al-Bassam

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