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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Palestine asks for UN membership

The Palestinian Authority has relaunched its bid to join the UN after a failed attempt in 2011

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has formally requested that it be admitted as a full-fledged member of the United Nations. The State of Palestine has held observer status at the UN since 2012, but full membership would amount to a recognition of Palestinian statehood, which Israel opposes.

“Today, the State of Palestine, and upon instructions of the Palestinian leadership, sent a letter to the Secretary General requesting renewed consideration to [our] membership application,” the Palestinian Authority’s permanent envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, wrote in a post on X on Tuesday.

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In a separate letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Arab Group, Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and Non-Aligned Movement all backed Mansour’s request.

Under the governance of the PA, the State of Palestine claims sovereignty over territory considered Palestinian before the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War. This includes Gaza, the entire West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea of Palestinian statehood, and vowed to impose “full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan,” which includes all of these regions.

Parts of the West Bank are already under full Israeli military and civilian control, while Gaza is governed by Hamas, which views the PA as illegitimate for recognizing and negotiating with Israel.

Applications for UN membership must be approved by the secretary general before being presented to the 15-member UN Security Council for a vote. The PA applied for membership in 2011, but the application was never put to the Security Council. At the time, the US – as one of the council’s five permanent members – said it would exercise its veto power in the event of a successful vote.

The following year, the UN upgraded the State of Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state,” a status held only by it and the Vatican City.

Read more: ICJ hearings on Israel’s occupation of Palestine conclude

While the PA’s renewed application would again be at risk of veto from the US, Washington has signaled that it is willing to break from its usual policy of vetoing any security council decision that goes against Israeli interests. Late last month, the US abstained from voting and allowed the council to adopt a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Despite the US’ continued military support for Israel, the abstention was seen as a sign of a widening rift between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.

Some 140 UN member states have already recognized the State of Palestine.