Palestinian United Nations bid explained

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A year after failing to win United Nations recognition as an independent state, the Palestinian Authority achieved what is perhaps a largely symbolic though notable status change on Thursday by way of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.


The body decided that their “non-member observer entity” status should instead be “non-member observer state,” similar to the Vatican, giving Palestinians a certain implicit degree of statehood recognition.

The following answers a list of frequently asked questions that may help clarify this relatively unique scenario.

What is the Palestinians’ former status at the U.N.?

The Palestinians had had “permanent observer” status at the U.N. since 1974, when the Palestine Liberation Organization was recognized as an observer, a position which is not defined in the U.N.’s charter.

The mission, which subsequently became officially referred to as “Palestine” within the U.N. system, was in 1998 granted privileges that had previously been held only by member states. These included the rights to participate in general debate at the start of the General Assembly and to co-sponsor resolutions, giving the delegation a unique status, somewhere between observer and member.

Written By: Tim Hume and Ashley Fantz
continue to source article at cnn.com

29 COMMENTS

  1. i’m afraid i just don’t understand.  is the palestine liberation authoriy and palestine the same thing?  i thought palestine was rule by a terrorist organisation.  would someone who understands these thing care to explain?

  2.  
    The statehood bid was driven by the Palestinian Authority, whose president, Mahmoud Abbas, is also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

    The Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank, one of two Palestinian territories, but has virtually no sway in Gaza, run by Hamas, Fatah’s Islamist rivals who were recently locked in conflict with Israel. 

    Michael

  3. No, they are not the same. I suggest you read a rather fair assessment of Palestinian politics here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P

    although in micro-summary, Palestine is the term used for the totality of the people in the West Bank and Gaza, which includes Christians as well as Muslims. Due to a tug of war between the more aggressive forces which want to actively oppose the Israeli occupation and those which try (unsuccessfully) to compromise with them, the PLA remains the authority in the West Bank while the party of Hamas controls the tiny Gaza strip. It is called a terrorist organization by the US and Israel (who call a lot of organizations ‘terrorist’), though in fact the story is more complicated than that, and this can also be explained by a trip to Wikipedia). 

  4.   No, they are not the same. I suggest you read a rather fair assessment of Palestinian politics here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P

    although in micro-summary, Palestine is the term used for the
    totality of the people in the West Bank and Gaza, which includes
    Christians as well as Muslims. Due to a tug of war between the more
    aggressive forces which want to actively oppose the Israeli occupation
    and those which try (unsuccessfully) to compromise with them, the PLA
    remains the authority in the West Bank while the party of Hamas controls
    the tiny Gaza strip. It is called a terrorist organization by the US
    and Israel (who call a lot of organizations ‘terrorist’), though in fact
    the story is more complicated than that, and this can also be explained
    by a trip to Wikipedia). 

  5. The best sources of information about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are not Americans, not Arabs, and not Zionists (though all have some good points) but  liberal Israelis themselves. I suggest you read Amira Hess, a journalist with Haaretz

    Amira Hass | Nov.19, 2012 | Haaretz | http://www.haaretz.com/news/fe… Ilan Pappe (Israeli intellectual/academic). You might also try Norman Finkelstein, the son of an Auschwitz victim, though he is accused of being a ‘self-hating Jew’, whatever that means.

  6. You might also have a look at Schomo Sand’s interesting take on on the Israeli state. I’ve only watched a talk by him, I’ve not got round to reading the book yet.

    Edit: Hm. The wikipedia article seems to have a bit of an odd slant to it. My understanding of the book was that it was challenging the notion of Israel as a racial state, and suggesting it should be replaced constitutionally with one based on national identity, as happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries for many other states.

  7. Due to the overwhelming nature of the vote for what is a de facto recognition of the state of Palestine (138 to 9 with 41 abstentions) the much hyped massive retaliation from Israel/US appears to have been sidelined – at least for the moment.

    Clinton has called the vote ‘unfortunate’ and an ‘obstacle’ to the peace process (a peace process whose aim, we should remember, is a ‘two state solution’) with Netanyahu screaming the usual mantra that only statehood could be confirmed by bilateral negotiation as agreed within the terms of the Oslo peace accord.

    We can understand these weasel words by looking at both meaning and location here:

    The recognition of a Palestinian state through ‘Bilateral Negotiation’ – sounds kinda’ cool, doesn’t it. Kinda’ correct. Kinda’ right. Kinda’ official. 

    But this does not mean the recognition of the state of Palestine by the overwhelming majority of the worlds nation states in a democratic vote based on their reading of the situation – it means with the agreement of the state of Israel supported by the US. 

    A recognition that by any stretch of the rational imagination will never happen.

    Now to location, specifically the ‘Location of Oslo’ – I can tell you this with some precision: The location of Oslo is ’1993′.

    Let’s look at that location one more time: ’1993′.

    ‘Obstacles to the peace process? C’mon Hilary, give me a break, there is no ‘peace process’.

    What has happened since 1993 is continued and escalating violence, the illegal settlement of occupied land, and the development of undemocratic forces.

    This inertia toward statehood and ‘nation-building’ (so favoured, apparently, in other parts of the world) is what has cast the forces of proto-fascism here as heroes. 

    How appealing when under the boot of occupation to hear the cry, ‘First, Resistance’.

    The recent incursion into the strip (like the last) has been hailed as a victory by the IDF and the Israeli press (how could it not: last incursion 10 Israeli dead, 1500+ Palestinian dead – this time: 6 Israeli dead, 150+ Palestinian dead) yet anyone can see that Hamas (and Hezbollah) have came out of both conflicts stronger, and the forces of moderation weaker.

    There was – and still is – an opportunity to ignite a process toward peace, to support moderation and diplomacy by giving Abbas the statesmanship he so obviously desires, and the statehood and democracy the Palestinian people so obviously need.

    You cannot have a two-state solution without two states.

    We can only move from where we are. There is a long way to go but there is cause for celebration here.

    Palestine is the worlds 194th state.

    We now have two states.

    Anvil.

    ps: To William Hague: Odd taste in the mouth this morning, Billy? That’ll be the taste of shame.

  8.  Well said. A book that should be read by anyone seeking the background to this situation is “What Price Israel?” by Alfred M. Lilienthal. He was an American Jew who in his time received death threats from Zionists.

  9. So the UN General Assembly gave the Palestinians a status of a non-member observer state, similar to the Vatican.
     
    Good luck to the Palestinians, I hope it move that troubled area closer to living peacefully together as two states.
     
    Why oh why, however, does the Vatican have that status? It’s not a country, just a handful of delusional old men in dresses. They can’t even procreate to get the next generation like a normal country! And when you considerate the harm they do in the world, they should be jailed not handed influence in world affairs.
     

  10. Yes. Written in the early fifties, I think? Although I’ve never read it I’ve had it recommended to me numerous times over the years when speaking about the situation in the middle east.

    I can feel myself pressing some Amazon buttons shortly.

    Cheers,

    Anvil.

  11. Clinton has called the vote ‘unfortunate’ and an ‘obstacle’ to the peace
    process (a peace process whose aim, we should remember, is a ‘two state
    solution’)

    Yes, this is what puzzles me: since Oslo the US, UK et al have openly said that they hope for a two-state solution. Why then would they object to Palestine seeking recognition of that status at the UN?

  12. The palestinian people have NEVER demonstrated a willingness to live in peace with Israel.  The 1947 partition voted by the UN gave the Palestinians much more than they would get now and still they rejected it because they do not want ANY state of Israel at all.  

  13. A place is a state when the people living there decide it is. It is no longer a state when the people who drive them off that land say it isn’t. You don’t have to acknowledge or do business with a state if you don’t want. You can attack it if you want. We do it all the time. Who gives a fuck? Welcome to Gazachwitz, where the inmates kill themselves.

  14. Maybe because they had to give up its own territory, for some other people, so they naturally found themselves offended (any other people in this situation would probably react similarly).Please just do not start with the antisemitism, just because I disagree with your opinion.

  15. My dad was there at the time (in the British army). It was not as simple as that and no one came out of the 1947 partition without some very nasty blood on their hands. Indeed the problem is people simplifying the conflict to create good guys/bad guys. Both sides have right on their side. It is difficult, if you are Israeli or Palestinian to accept the rights of the other side.

    If you follow their media you will see deliberately or not, they both demonise the other side. Good people on both sides feel justified in doing bad things to the other. Anyone with experience in Northern Ireland or South Africa may begin to appreciate some of the forces at work. Thankfully those have been mostly lanced. But the Palestinian/Israeli situation is even more deep seated. 

    I, for one, see no possibility for reconciliation in my lifetime. I hope I’m wrong. But as outsiders it may be best not to be judgemental. Only try and pave a way for peace that will bit by bit isolate the more militant forces on either side without alienating the people in between.

  16.  Once and for all, can we stop these daft accusations of anti-semitism whenever anyone dares to criticise Israel. I, and others, are not anti-semitic, we are anti-Zionist, as in the present context ,any reasonable person should be.

    I have quoted this before:
    Talking to that great idol of Zionists, Chaim Weizmann, Albert Einstein ventured to ask: “What about the Arabs if Palestine is given to the Jews?” The reply was: “What Arabs? They are hardly of any consequence.”

    What title to the territory did the Zionists claim? Oh yes, God promised it to them a couple of thousand years ago. As I have also said before, by that logic Florida should be handed back to the Seminoles, assuming there are any Seminoles left.

  17.  Brainsys, there is an unfortunate tendency in all discussions of the problems in this part of the world, to talk as if those problems began only with the foundation of the state of Israel.  They began much earlier than that.

    As for being judgemental, I plead guilty, but I am aiming my darts not at Jews, not even primarily at the Zionists, but at the successive British and American governments who have supported the Old Testament Zionist behavior.

    If by any chance Mrs Clinton should become President, it would seem this support will continue,  so I’m not optimistic either.

  18. JayG
    The palestinian people have NEVER demonstrated a willingness to live in peace with Israel.  

    That is simply not true, Jay. Arafat & Rabin did exactly this in ’93. More do so in 2012. 

    And were it true, that would not mean that this is the case now, or will be in the future.

    The 1947 partition voted by the UN gave the Palestinians much more than they would get now and still they rejected it because they do not want ANY state of Israel at all.  

    This is true. 

    They (The Arab Higher Committee in ’47)  rejected the resolution as they saw the whole of Palestine as Arab lands that were being stolen by the UN and given to a very small minority who lived in Palestine but who had no claim to such land either historically or morally.

    Of course they didn’t want ANY state of Israel. They opposed partition of what they saw as their country in opposition to their own nationalist aspirations. Would you not do this were the Mormon Church to sue for an independent state of Mormonia located somewhere in the US? (sorry, more a humorous example than truly analogous).

    It would also be interesting to see how the vote would have went had the initial vote not been postponed to allow time for further ‘lobbying’.

    As it was it went 33/13 with 10 abstentions and 1 absent – the Siamese didn’t turn up.

    The Zionists got their state.

    Israel and the US should accept this vote with magnanimity and announce the recognition of the state of Palestine forthwith.

    Anvil.

  19. I see the UK government having abstained from the UN vote, is expressing disapproval of the Israeli decision to approve more settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-p… –
    The UK has warned Israel that its plan to expand settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories “threatens the viability” of peace.

    Daniel Taub, ambassador to London, was summoned to talks with Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.
    This followed Israel authorising 3,000 more housing units the day after the United Nations voted to upgrade Palestinian status. 

    Mr Burt said the government felt “disappointment” at Israel’s action.
    Two decades of on-off negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have failed to produce a permanent settlement.

    ‘Strategic interests
    Many countries, including the UK, argue that having two separate Israeli and Palestinian states – the “two-state solution” – is needed to ensure peace in the region.

    A look at the history gives some background information:-

    Israeli settlement timeline – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    1967

    The cease-fire agreement following the 1967 Six-Day War leaves Israel in control of a number of areas captured during hostilities. From Jordan, Israel gains control of the entire western bank of the Jordan River, including parts of Jerusalem previously controlled by Jordan – East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. From Egypt, Israel gains control of the entire Sinai peninsula up to the Suez Canal, and the Gaza strip. From Syria, Israel gains control of most of the Golan Heights, since 1981, administered under the Golan Heights Law.

    The municipal borders of Jerusalem are extended to include all of the Old City as well as other areas. Residents within the new municipal borders are offered the choice between citizenship (subject to a few restrictions) and permanent residency (if they wished to retain their Jordanian passports).
    This annexation has never been recognized by any other country.

    The Sinai, Gaza Strip, and West Bank are put under Israeli military occupation. Residents are not offered citizenship or residency, though they typically have de facto work permits within Israel and freedom of travel there.

      There are more details on the above link.

    The Israeli Settlement Growth Line Graph, shows the growth in settler populations –   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

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