Palestinians Aim for ‘Nonmember State’ Status at U.N. –

A familiar strategy for a non-voting, Palestinian “observers” at the UN.  Keep in mind that their efforts to push for greater recognition was not met with support by the US.

One year after the Palestinians’ high-profile failure to win United Nations membership through the Security Council, they are returning to the General Assembly next week seeking largely symbolic “nonmember state” status, with a subdued campaign that many analysts see as a long-shot effort to win back the waning attention of the world.

The delegation heading to New York this weekend is half the size of last year’s. And there are no concerts or street parties planned this time around President Mahmoud Abbas’s Sept. 27 speech to the General Assembly; instead, it comes after days of unrest across the West Bank focused more on the Palestinian Authority than its Israeli occupier.

via Palestinians Aim for ‘Nonmember State’ Status at U.N. –


9 thoughts on “Palestinians Aim for ‘Nonmember State’ Status at U.N. –”

  1. This is an interesting idea. Tony Blair makes a good point about burning your house down and expecting others to build you a new house. You may just end up with no house. Then again, trying something new is not going to hurt the Palestinians more than what they have gone through. Settlers are going to continue to settle. The Israeli government does very little to nothing to prevent such settlements. Israel is also not going to relinquish its ideology on Jerusalem, the borders, or the right of return to the Palestinians who were run off the land. Simply put, the situation is not going anywhere, so why not throw out the Oslo Accords? I’m not exactly sure what Palestine’s new move would be after that. I do think that trying to become a non member state of the U.N. is a move in the right direction. It would give them access to the ICC (not that the ICC would do anything). They only recently convicted their first war criminal and imposed a sentence.

    But at least it would give the Palestinians another forum to raise their voice in and potentially seek redress. Yet, as mentioned, we have a long way to go before the ICC gets any teeth.

  2. Troy Tessem is right, for the Palestinians, maintaining the status quo is not acceptable. In the NY Times article, a link is given to an open letter written by on of the Israeli negotiators of the Oslo Accords. In this letter, the Israeli negotiator speaks of the futility of continuing an interim agreement that has been in place 16 years past its expiry date.

    There are legitimate fears that if the Palestinians abandon the Oslo Accords, that violence will result. However, the alternative is to stand by idly as any chance of a two-state solution continues to fade.

    Here is an interesting article about Palestinians dissatisfaction with the PA, on the creations of the Oslo Accords:

  3. I don’t expect the Palestinians to have much luck with their bid. First of all, there’s already so much fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians that putting them together in the UN body probably wouldn’t bring about a change in their policies towards each other. If anything, it would just make the Israelis more angry and lead to more conflict. At this point, Israel seems much stronger as a country than Palestinians are as a group of people. Palestine may be vocal in their opposition to the Israeli government and they openly rebel against them at times, but the Israelis have an army, weapons, and support from the United States. Palestine may have a leader in Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the PLO, but it still doesn’t do them much good. If Palestine were allowed to receive non-member state status, I’d expect many groups trying to break away from countries where they feel oppressed would seek the same designation. Since the United States is a key member of the security council, Palestine won’t get far with this proposal without their support. It doesn’t seem possible that the United States could feasibly support non-member state status for Palestine without offending the Israelis, so I think the Palestinians are stuck in this case.

    Here’s a good article that provides some insight about what rights Palestine would have if it were to obtain observer status in the UN:

  4. There are two sides of the story, those who think that letting Palestine become a member of the UN will aggravate the ongoing issue of Israel-Palestine and those who think that It might not completely solve the problem but it will somehow ameliorate the situation. Many of the UN might be more familiar with the point of view of the first statement. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel mentioned that if Palestinians want a state to continue political, military, economic, and psychological struggle with Israel, then that’s not the way to do it. There might some biased views for him to say that but in Palestine they have a different point of view. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha-Kang said that there is a need to ensure accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law throughout the occupied Palestine territory, including Israel settlers that threat Palestinians and their property. There is not a right or wrong answer to whose ideas are right. However, to my point of view Palestine becoming member of the UN might calm the situation, especially if restrictions are set in order to discourage attacks to property and civilians.

  5. Why not allow them a non-member status? I don’t understand why they just don’t bring Palestine into the UN altogether. However, because of emotional reasons with certain nations, I doubt that would happen. While a non-member status won’t fix the conflict, it is at least symbolic to the Palestinians that the world has not forgotten them. Not to mention access to UN resources may be helpful for the development of Palestine, in which Israel won’t be able to stop. Also, accountability against Israel is strongly needed. The Israeli government has the nerve to do whatever they want with the Palestinian communities and then calls it “disputed territories”. If the Palestinian people were being watched over by the UN, I am sure that Israel would work harder to curb the growth of settlements. That doesn’t seem like much, but it would do wonders to calm the violence in the area

  6. The UN has time and again shown that they will not help Palestine. Though Israel (I believe) is the country with the most UN Resolution condemning its actions, especially as related to Israeli-Palestinian relations, they will not help.
    It is clear that while the US continues to have veto power, the measures that would be laudable for the UN to take against Israel and for Palestine will not be taken.
    Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not believe that Israel is wholly a “terrorist state” or that it should be completely abolished, nor that Palestine is entirely without fault in these conflicts, but Israel has repeatedly violated UN Resolutions and with impunity spat in the face of the international community – yet nothing has been done.
    I find it highly unlikely that the UN will even recognize Palestine as a nonmember state.

  7. My first real exposure to MUN was a UN simulation we did at the start of my senior of high school, and the topic was Palestine’s bid for membership. The country assignments were handed out for the day, and my friend and I were given the ill-fated Palestinian Authority. The session ended just as I had predicted; no matter how much caucusing or speaking I did, or how many motions I made, the US pulled out their veto and I was left frustrated at the entire system of the UN for allowing such a stalemate to occur, though I was likely more just heated at the fact that I had failed to “win” the debate.

    Though I may not necessarily agree with Palestine becoming its own nation, I am sympathetic about their current state. One of the great things about MUN is the opportunity to step outside of your own thinking, and don a new thinking as you represent an entire, foreign nation to your own ability. Things I disagreed with before, I found, had specific reasoning behind it. I may have not been completely won over by the PLO’s plight, I can slightly sympathize with the delegation.

    Reading through different articles, a lot of writers question the PA’s motives for seeking their “independence” through the UN, and wonder why not through peace talks with Israel. Currently, the two are in a negotiating impasse with no hope of clearing up. According to an article by David Makovsky from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled “The Palestinian Bid for UN Membership: Rationale, Response, Repercussions” ( the PA believes such negotiations with Israel are futile, and outside forces such as Europe and the US are doing little to urge Israel to release more concessions. So instead, the PA has turned to the UN, where “Palestinians have won more resolutions of support than any other liberation movement.” Makovsky expands the enticement for the PA to seek independence in the UN: “In the same vein, Israel is often excoriated at the UN, usually due to persistent differences regarding the Palestinian issue.”

    Another important factor in this issue is concerning the Arab Spring, as twenty-two members of the Arab League all support Palestine. Palestine’s recognition of the popular rebellions affecting the area had caused them to take their request to the UN. The PA sees membership to the UN as an added boost to their negotiations with Israel about the status of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements, precise borders, and security, among others. Palestine can no longer solely depend on their Arab supporters, who are all involved in their internal conflicts.

    Ultimately, however, I see that if such a resolution were to come from this, it would definitely have to involve some sort of new talks with Israel.

  8. I am torn as to whether Palestine should become a nonmember state. On the one side it very well may aggravate the situation between Israel and the Palestinian nation by spurring forward the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem (, which I personally think would be a mistake, and may spur on a war exponentially worse than the conflict that is already occurring there. However, on the other side of the argument, Palestine deserves just as much of a say to what is going on in the world as Israel or any other state does, especially since there are being grossly mistreated by their Israeli neighbors. By Palestine being recognized Israel may be brought to justice for how it has treated the Palestinians, and violence may die on both sides. So what should happen will? Should we leave things as they are and hope they work out eventually, or will we take this possibility for greater peace that also risks greater disaster?

  9. I am very neutral on the subject of Palestine getting non-state membership status at the U.N. I think they should have a say like everyone else. At the same time, it opens doors to other nations that do not have states to want recognition. An example of that may be the Kurds ( in Turkey, Iraq and other places. We could see many nations claiming that the Palestines were able so why not them? Then once they get recognition we are basically throwing out the state representation the world has in place now. Nations are more tense with one another than states are. Nations being represented will only cause more civil unrest, unresolved policies, and difficulties in getting along in the world. This chain of reaction probably would not happen for a long time after Palestinian recognition. The world though may not improve at the rate we are improving. This is one reason for not giving Palestine non-state membership status.

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