On June 9, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, “Palestinian leadership divided over plan to seek UN recognition,” saying:
Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are “sharply divided over the unilateral move to seek” UN General Assembly recognition in September. Abbas wants it. Others don’t “because they believe (it) could do more harm than good to their cause,” hurting Israel perhaps but not helping themselves.
Those opposed include Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (a former World Bank/IMF official closely tied to Israeli/Washington/Western interests), former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, and former Palestinian UN envoy Nasser al-Qudwa.
Ravid said al-Qudwa’s “opposition is particularly significant because he is considered the most experienced Palestinian official (in) dealing with the United Nations.” He’s also a possible presidential candidate.
At issue is strong Israeli/Washington opposition in contrast to most other countries. Last March, in fact, Israel told UN Security Council members and other prominent EU countries it will act unilaterally if the General Assembly grants de jure membership in September inside 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine.
At the same time, Rafael Barak, Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, cabled over 30 Israeli embassies, telling them to lodge high-level diplomatic protests against Palestinian efforts for recognition, claiming (without justification that) doing so violates Oslo and may cause internal violence.
Foreign Ministry sources also said no response decision was taken on if de jure membership is granted. Some sources suggest it will refuse recognition and more, including annexing West Bank settlements, all East Jerusalem, closed military zones, restricted tourist locations, and Israeli commercial developments, leaving isolated urban areas and worthless scrub land for Palestine.
Although Obama told the General Assembly in September 2010 he favored Palestinian statehood in a year, he categorically rejects PA officials seeking it unilaterally to let Israel decide its terms, size, locations and timetable. In other words, he supports Israeli veto power of Palestinian sovereignty, an unacceptable condition under international law.
On May 19, in fact, a new White House.gov site headlined, “President Obama: Advancing Israel’s Security and Supporting Peace,” saying:
“Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable,” stating he wants “core issues (including Palestinian de jure UN membership and statehood) negotiated and resolved in direct talks between the parties,” despite all previously failed efforts, assuring no possibility of success this time.
He then “emphasized that a vote at the United Nations will never create an independent Palestinian state” even though defying a two-thirds majority General Assembly affirmation is illegal. More on that below.
Moreover, last December 15, Congress (by voice vote) passed HR 1765: “Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state, and for other purposes,” including:
“affirm(ing) that the United States would deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any (Security Council resolution) to establish or recognize (one) outside of an agreement by the two parties.”
However, former PLO legal advisor Professor Francis Boyle said Washington earlier provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can’t reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine’s UN admission.
Any veto is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter’s Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority.
It can also enact a complete international statehood legal system, requiring all members refrain from recognizing Israel’s illegal occupation. Moreover, UN Charter Article 80(1) and others empower the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood and take all necessary measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation. It’s high time that happened, spurning Israeli/Washington pressure to stop it by affirming status quo illegalities.
On June 8, Boyle’s Countercurrents article headlined, “The Case for Palestine’s UN Membership,” summarizing key issues in the debate as follows:
“On November 15, 1988, the Palestinian National Council (PNC)….proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that created the independent state of Palestine.”
Today, about 130 or more nations recognize it de jure, including most European ones.
Only massive US pressure so far blocked it.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) also recognizes a de jure independent Palestine.
Currently, it has UN Observer State Status excluding only the right to vote, what official September recognition will grant.
Only Washington’s threatened Security Council veto prevents de jure membership, “which is clearly illegal because it would violate a solemn and binding pledge given” not to do so against any state seeking UN membership.
Whether this September or later, Palestine will “become a full-fledged UN Member State.” Neither Washington or Israel can stop it.
Enough support, in fact, now exists, “pursuant to the terms of (the General Assembly’s) Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950).”
The GA has sole authority to admit new members, not the Security Council.
If Obama uses his veto as threatened, the General Assembly can circumvent him “under the Uniting for Peace Resolution to admit Palestine as a UN Member State in September.”