Palestinian bid at UN tonight: Questions and answers


How did we get to this point? Why is Mahmoud Abbas taking his initiative to the UN?

……….The Palestinians have claimed that Netanyahu, unlike other Israeli premiers, refuses to engage in real, meaningful talks about establishing borders for a future Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with exchanges of territory.

For its part, Israel claims that Abbas has demanded preconditions that are unlike any previous terms for talks with Israel in the past. One of Abbas’s two main demands is a moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, something that Netanyahu has adamantly refused. The Israeli leader claims that when Israel did agree to a 10-month freeze on settlement building, the Palestinians still refused to direct negotiations.

The diplomatic freeze with Israel, the Palestinians’ internal diplomatic crisis, Hamas’s empowerment in the wake of the Arab Spring and the recent conflict in Gaza have all contributed to Abbas’s decision to follow through with his bid, and to prove that he can produce some achievements for the Palestinian people. He also hoped that taking this bid to the UN would keep the Palestinian issue on the international agenda and increase pressure on Israel.

But didn’t we already see this same scenario play out last September?

……….. The Palestinians needed nine out of 15 votes for their bid to succeed, but managed to garner only eight.

So what’s changed?

After the Palestinians failed to secure a Security Council vote, they changed course and sought a General Assembly vote instead. The assembly consists of 193 member nations and the Palestinians have greater support there.


What does the draft resolution say?

It says that the General Assembly will recognize Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member observer state at the UN. The resolution also calls for the immediate renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, with the goal of reaching a two-state solution.

What is an observer state?

……….. the Palestinians’ status will resemble that of the Vatican. The UN will recognize Palestine as a state, but that state will not be a full member in the organization like most other countries in the world, and its status will be that of observer.

What are the practical implications of this move?

Apart from the symbolic upgrade, the measure will strengthen Palestinian standing in the international community and call greater attention to their claim for an independent state and an end to the occupation. It will also allow them to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague and will gain them membership into about 30 other UN agencies.

Why does Israel oppose the measure?

Jerusalem’s main concern is that the General Assembly’s decision will enable the Palestinians to challenge Israel, both diplomatically and legally, in the international arena. ……………………

What can we expect the day after the vote?

At first, nothing. Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S. administration will have to wait until after the Israeli election in January to see how things play out. The Palestinians aren’t expected to pursue additional initiatives at the UN or at the ICC in the coming months. ……………………..

Read the detailed answers here




Categories: Asia, Israel, Middle East, Palestine

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