UN General Assembly Set to Support Palestinian Bid for Full Membership, Sending Application to Security Council"

The United Nations General Assembly is poised to endorse a Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership, sending the application back to the Security Council for reconsideration. This move revives the Palestinian quest for statehood after a recent U.S. veto.

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UN General Assembly Set to Support Palestinian Bid for Full Membership, Sending Application to Security Council"

In a renewed push for international recognition, the Palestinians are reviving their bid to become a full member state of the United Nations (UN). On Friday, the UN General Assembly is set to back a Palestinian application, effectively endorsing their eligibility for membership and sending the matter back to the UN Security Council for reconsideration.

This move comes after the United States vetoed a similar  Palestinian bid in the 15-member Security Council last month, underscoring the complex dynamics and divisions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the global stage.

While the General Assembly's anticipated support cannot grant full UN membership on its own, the draft resolution being voted on will confer additional rights and privileges on the Palestinians from September 2024, including a seat among UN members in the assembly hall, though without voting rights.

Diplomats suggest the draft text is likely to garner the necessary support for adoption, setting the stage for a global survey of support for the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership coincides with a tumultuous period, marked by a seven-month conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as well as Israel's continued expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, a practice deemed illegal by the UN.

Why It Matters: The Palestinian bid for full UN membership is a symbolic and strategic move that carries significant implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader Middle East region. If successful, it would grant the Palestinians a heightened sense of legitimacy and recognition on the international stage, potentially strengthening their negotiating position in future peace talks. However, it could also further strain relations with Israel and its allies, who view the move as a unilateral attempt to circumvent direct negotiations.

The Palestinian UN mission in New York has framed the draft resolution as an "investment in preserving the long-sought-for two-state solution," asserting that it would reaffirm support for the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and an independent state.

However, the United States, a staunch ally of Israel, has reiterated its stance that the path to Palestinian statehood lies through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions at the UN.

Israel's UN Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, has vehemently denounced the draft text, arguing that its adoption would not change the reality on the ground. Erdan went further, suggesting that if the resolution passes, he expects the United States to halt funding for the UN and its institutions, in accordance with American law prohibiting funding for organizations that grant full membership to entities lacking "internationally recognized attributes" of statehood.

The potential financial implications are significant, as the United States previously cut funding for the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, after the Palestinians joined as a full member in 2011.

Adding to the complexity, a group of 25 Republican senators in the United States has introduced a bill to tighten restrictions and cut off funding to any entity granting rights and privileges to the Palestinians, though the bill faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

As the UN General Assembly prepares to vote, the Palestinian bid for statehood reignites a longstanding debate over the legitimacy of their aspirations, the viability of a two-state solution, and the delicate balance of power and influence in the Middle East. The outcome of this vote could either pave the way for renewed momentum in the peace process or further entrench the existing divisions and animosities.

Key Takeaways

  • Palestinians seek UN General Assembly support for full membership.
  • US veto in Security Council reflects global divisions.
  • Resolution offers enhanced rights, signaling global sentiment.
  • Push coincides with ongoing conflicts in Gaza.
  • Success enhances legitimacy but risks US backlash.