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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US responds to Palestine’s UN membership bid

Becoming a full member will not guarantee statehood, according to Washington’s envoy

A resolution recommending that the Palestinian Authority (PA) become a full member of the UN would not result in a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said.

She made the comments at a news conference in Seoul on Wednesday, after being asked whether the US was open to recognizing the PA’s request.

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Earlier this month, the regional authority asked to be admitted as a full-fledged member of the UN. The State of Palestine has held observer status since 2012, but full membership would amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood, which Israel opposes.

“We do not see that doing a resolution in the Security Council will necessarily get us to a place where we can find… a two-state solution moving forward,” Thomas-Greenfield said, as quoted by Reuters.

The UN Security Council committee reportedly stated this week that it “was unable to make a unanimous recommendation” on whether the PA’s application for full membership met the criteria.

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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 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 the world body itself and Vatican City.

According to Thomas-Greenfield, US President Joe Biden has categorically said Washington supports a two-state solution and Washington is working to get that in place as soon as possible.

The PA is expected to push the Security Council to vote on a draft resolution as early as Thursday, diplomats told Reuters. Security Council member Algeria reportedly circulated a draft text late on Tuesday.

According to the Palestinian side, 137 of the 193 UN member states already recognize a Palestinian state.

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.