News / Middle East

    Palestinians Demonstrate in Support of UN Membership Bid

    Palestinians rally in support of the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in the northern West Bank village of Al-Zababdeh, September 22, 2011.
    Palestinians rally in support of the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in the northern West Bank village of Al-Zababdeh, September 22, 2011.
    Scott Bobb

    Palestinians across the West Bank have been demonstrating this week to show support for statehood. The display comes ahead of a speech Friday by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in which he is expected to demand membership in the United Nations.

    With Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in New York, thousands of Palestinians gathered Wednesday in Ramallah and other West Bank cities to show support for Palestinian membership in the United Nations.



    Ramallah Governor Laila Ghanam told the crowd it was a historic moment for which the Palestinian people have been waiting for a long and bloody time. The demonstrations were largely peaceful.

    Palestinian Statehood Bid Breakdown

      The Process

    • Palestinians say they are seeking U.N. recognition after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver an independent state.
    • It is not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will seek U.N. Security Council approval of U.N. member status for an independent Palestine, or instead seek "non-member status" within the world body.
    • The mechanism for recognizing statehood at the United Nations is specific.
    • First, a resolution declaring a State of Palestine as a full U.N. member is introduced. Then the resolution is sent to the Security Council, which studies it and takes a vote on sending the measure to the full General Assembly. It takes two thirds of the U.N.'s membership to approve voting-state status.
    • Achieving non-member status requires only a simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly. Palestinians currently hold observer status at the world body.
    • Non-voting U.N. membership would provide Palestinians with a status upgrade that would allow them to petition U.N. committees and entities such as the International Court of Justice.

      Why the Palestinian bid?

    • President Abbas backed out of U.S.-led peace talks last year in protest against Israel's decision to end a freeze in settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state. Palestinians say because the peace process has failed, they will unilaterally seek to establish a state. Abbas said the Palestinians are the only people in the world who remain under occupation.

      Why the Israelis oppose the move?

    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians' plan to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations is "futile," and that only direct negotiations can lead to a peace agreement.
    • Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of "consistently evading" negotiations. He called on the Palestinian Authority "to abandon unilateral steps" and said it would then "find Israel to be a genuine partner" for peace.
    • Israel leaders say that by bypassing talks and going to the U.N., the Palestinians are violating previous agreements, and that could result in Israeli sanctions.

      Why the U.S. promises to veto?

    • The Obama administration opposes the Palestinian move and says it will not help to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. President Obama has called the proposal a "distraction" to attaining Mideast peace that he says can only be addressed through negotiations.
    • The U.S., one of five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, says it will veto a Palestinian membership bid in the Council if it comes to a vote.

    But Israeli security forces used tear gas to counter several dozen rock-throwing youths at checkpoints near Hebron and Qalandia, north of Jerusalem.

    Israeli leaders say the Palestinian drive for U.N. recognition will hurt peace talks between the two sides. Palestinian leaders hope U.N. recognition, however, will revive the talks and boost their drive for independence.

    Some Palestinians, such as butcher Tamer Marmesh in Ramallah, dismiss the drive for U.N. recognition. He said going to the United Nations is nonsense.

    "Even if we get recognition, we are under occupation. It is a meaningless venture," he said.

    In Jerusalem, Israeli office worker Ziva Gazit agreed, although she said she supports a separate state for the Palestinians.

    "I think that a U.N. declaration will result in nothing for the average Palestinian in the cities. Nothing will happen for the moment and they will be very disappointed, I am afraid," she said.

    Support among Palestinians for U.N. recognition is generally split along party lines. Fatah, which governs much of the West Bank, backs  Abbas.

    But Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, opposes the bid for U.N. recognition. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said it will only further legitimize Israel, which Hamas refuses to recognize.

    He said that Abbas's move is an individual step that does not enjoy the support of the majority of the Palestinian people. He said it is a cosmetic move that will bring no real benefit.

    On Thursday, hundreds of Palestinians in Ramallah protested the U.N. speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, in which he said a Palestinian state could be established only through direct negotiations.

    Israeli news media praised the speech, saying the American president for the first time had shown an understanding of Israel's particular concerns.

     

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

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora