Bidding on hope

The struggle for Palestinian statehood goes on.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 30 Nov 2012, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:51 AM

A week after the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire put an end to hostilities between Hamas and Israel, the UN General Assembly is all set to vote on Palestine’s bid for full membership of the UN as an observer state. Palestine had been taking part in the UN as an observer entity since 1974, but since last year Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been lobbying for Palestine’s membership of the UN as a state.

While a majority of the 193-member body are expected to full in favour of upgrading Palestine to an observer state, resistance is expected from the US and Israel. While US President Barack Obama reiterated his commitment to lobby for Palestinian statehood before he was elected the first time, he has openly criticised the move by Abbas to seek full membership of the UN. According to the American leader, negotiations, not membership of the UN, are the key for seeking a resolution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. In fact, he even personally called his Palestinian counterpart to delay his bid for full membership— an appeal that was openly rejected by Abbas.

Even last year, the United States vetoed Palestine’s attempt to be admitted to the UN as a full member state, but the country does not have a right to veto at the general assembly. Thus, Palestinian leader are confident that they will be able to get the simple majority needed for the full membership.

Other Western nations appear split on the issue. At least 12 EU members are expected to vote in favour for the full membership save the UK, which will most probably support the US in its rejection of the bid.

But what exactly will this full membership of the UN serve? Palestinian leaders hope that the international community will start recognising their territory as a legitimate state. But the UN status will not actually matter if Israel refuses to push the peace process forward and restore the pre-1967 war boundaries. Interestingly, Israel has recently mellowed down its vociferous opposition to Palestine’s full membership. Perhaps, Israeli leaders are aware that full inclusion in the UN will be merely titular for the Palestinian Authority and the latter will continue to remain bereft of any real lobbying power in the international arena.

More news from