News / Middle East

Palestinians Won't Stop Statehood Drive

A Palestinian school girl, left, hands a letter, addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to UN officer Pascale Soto, right, during a rally to support the Palestinian statehood bid in the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Rama
A Palestinian school girl, left, hands a letter, addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to UN officer Pascale Soto, right, during a rally to support the Palestinian statehood bid in the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Rama

The Palestinians are taking their statehood bid to the United Nations this week.  Palestinian leaders plan to ask the world body for full status as a state, though that has already been assured a block by the United States. Still, Palestinian leaders say, they are undeterred.

After years of holding talks with Israel in a bid to gain statehood, the Palestinians have decided on a different strategy. They say they are going to the United Nations to seek status as a full member state.  That plan has drawn sharp criticism from Israel, and from the United States, which insist that statehood can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations.

Longtime Palestinian legislator and official Hanan Ashrawi asserts  the Palestinians are entitled to act on their own.

"We don't need permission from Israel," he said. "The right to self determination, and statehood, and sovereignty is enshrined in the U.N. resolutions, and in the U.N. Charter, and in international law. We have fulfilled all of the requirements of statehood according to the Montevideo Convention and the U.N. Charter."

The mechanism for recognizing statehood at the United Nations is specific.  A resolution is introduced. The resolution is sent to the Security Council, which then studies it and then takes a vote on sending the measure to the full General Assembly.  It then takes two thirds of the U.N.'s membership to approve voting-state status.

But the United States has announced it will use its Security Council veto privilege to stop the Palestinian resolution.  If that indeed takes place, the Palestinians are left with seeking "observer state" status that falls short of full membership.  

Non-voting U.N. membership not only provides a status upgrade, but it also affords access to U.N. committees and entities.  

According to Graeme Bannerman at the Middle East Institute, it could provide more Palestinian leverage at the bargaining table with the Israelis.

"Nobody believes that there is going to be a Palestinian state, fully recognized in the international community, without negotiations with the Israelis. That's going to happen," said Bannerman. "The issue is 'Will they be better able to negotiate with more of a 'state' recognition than being this weak entity [the Palestinians' current status] versus the stronger State of Israel?'"

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to say that peace will only be achieved through direct negotiations.  And he says Israel will still be ready to talk even after the Palestinians seek statehood from the U.N..

"After the smoke clears, after all that is happening at the U.N., at the end, the Palestinians will come to their senses - this is what I hope - and will abandon these moves that bypass negotiations," said Netanyahu.

The PLO's Representative to the United States, Maen Areikat, says he and other Palestinian leaders are undeterred by this and any other pressures.

"This is an issue of national pride to us. Our freedom and independence are not on the table for bargaining. We will not bargain on our freedom and independence. No matter what the repercussions and the consequences are going to be," he said.

In Washington - which provided the Palestinians with nearly $500 million in 2010 - consequences have been threatened as well.  Nevertheless, Abbas says the statehood drive will not be stopped.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More