News / Middle East

Palestinians Seek to Upgrade UN Status

Palestinians hold placards depicting President Mahmoud Abbas during a rally in support of his efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, November 25, 2012.
Palestinians hold placards depicting President Mahmoud Abbas during a rally in support of his efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, November 25, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
The Palestinian Authority is seeking an upgrade in status at the U.N. General Assembly to that of a non-member state. The move follows a bid late last year to obtain full U.N. membership that stalled in the Security Council.

Last November, frustrated by a dormant peace process with Israel, the Palestinian Authority asked a U.N. Security Council committee to consider its membership application. The committee failed to agree to recommend full membership and the bid ended without further action.

This week, the Palestinian Authority is taking a different route, seeking enhanced observer status as a non-member state.

Abbas to speak

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the General Assembly on Thursday, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. A vote is expected to follow.  

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the resolution has nearly 60 co-sponsors, and he expects the simple majority required for the upgrade.

But there are expected to be several European abstentions, and some "no" votes, including from the United States and Israel, which oppose unilateral Palestinian action toward statehood.

Membership privileges

George Washington University Political Science Professor Edmund Ghareeb explained what benefits that enhanced international status could bring the Palestinians.

"So this would, to a certain extent, refocus world attention on this issue and also it is going to legitimize the Palestinian position. It is going to strengthen further the Palestinian Authority's position as well," said Ghareeb. "It may make it much easier for the Palestinians to negotiate with the Israelis without pre-conditions or ending or freezing the settlements."

The status upgrade also opens the door for the Palestinians to join international treaties registered with the United Nations, as well as organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, and significantly, the International Criminal Court.

If accepted by the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian Authority could request the prosecutor investigate Israeli actions in Palestinian territories.

Related video report by Meredith Buel:

Downside of upgrade

The Palestinian move for non-member state status also could have some negative consequences.

The United States has been opposed to the status, saying negotiations are the only road to Palestinian statehood. U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Abbas last week that Washington's position has not changed.

"We do not think that this step is going to bring the Palestinian people any closer to a state. That we think it is a mistake. That we oppose it. That we will oppose it," said Nuland.

The Congressional Research Service says the United States allocated about $500 million for the Palestinians in 2010. Some of that aid could be threatened, as well as funds from other sources, said New York University' Center for Global Affairs Dean Vera Jelinek.

"There is a risk of penalties. There is a risk of penalties from the United States, and those penalties have been levied against UNESCO, for example," said Jelinek. "So if UNESCO is a yardstick of what might happen, then obviously aid could be withdrawn; Israel could withhold some of the funding that it gives, some of the taxation."

Financial impact

That would complicate a bleak fiscal picture for the Palestinians, who the World Bank says are facing a $1.5-billion budget deficit in 2012.

Political scientist Ghareeb said short term, it may hurt the Palestinians economically and put them on a confrontation course with Israel and the United States, but he said there is no other option.

"In the long term there is no alternative for the Palestinians but to make their case, to bring it up before international public opinion, because their case has been ignored, marginalized, not taken seriously and it has weakened the position of the Palestinians," said Ghareeb.

Analysts say they do not think enhanced status for the Palestinians will undermine the Middle East peace process, which has been stalled for more than a year.

Ghareeb said it could put pressure on the United States, Israel and others to properly revive the peace process as a real alternative to confrontation. Analyst Jelinek said Abbas likely has calculated that strong support for enhanced status will improve his negotiating position with Israel.

"I think he feels he will have a stronger position if this resolution is passed. He will have a stronger position internationally, and therefore, vis-à-vis Israel. That Israel will feel the pressure - the international pressure - of coming to the table," said Jelinek.

What may not be known for months is the impact an upgrade in U.N. status could have for the Palestinians.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
November 29, 2012 12:38 PM
The Muslims pray with thier back to the Dome of the Rock, and they face EAST towards Mecca, YET they want Jerusalem???
Go FIGURE!!!

by: JohnWV from: USA
November 28, 2012 10:14 AM
Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

by: JohnWV from: USA
November 28, 2012 10:12 AM
The Jewish state has replicated the Warsaw Ghetto in besieged Palestine and wreaked horrors upon its inmates for generations in gross violation International Law. Upgrade to UN “observer state” will recognize statehood and allow Palestine to petition the Hague International Criminal Court. Hopefully, it will convict the Israeli criminals, impose punitive reparations, and somehow force an end to the Jewish state's paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and supremacist empire.

by: lee sherman from: Austin, TX
November 28, 2012 9:25 AM
Unilateral for the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a state is multilateral. This is a better solution than the half-century status quo of a stalemate.

The general assembly resolution 181 that declared Israel a state calls for a palestinian one too. It's the basis for Israel to exist and to deny the PLO this is just to slowly encroach on lands and commit apartheid.

VOICE OF AMERICA shame on you for publishing such biased propaganda with the money stolen from my paycheck in the name of sovereignty over my decision. We should support this and quit bowing to Israel so that region will quit having excuses to kill Americans..
In Response

by: Ben from: Houston
November 28, 2012 1:00 PM
You're joking right? Israel is the only nation in that area that actually LIKES us. Every other jawa state is out to kill us and the jews. It is pathetic that after all this time people still think Israel is the bad guy.

by: hane from: dakar
November 28, 2012 3:43 AM
I think palestine must have his statehood.

by: Bevmar from: D/FW Texas
November 27, 2012 11:23 PM
This is one of the most ridiculous "reports" I have read in awhile. The Palestinians were offered their own state WAY back in 1947. Rather than accept a state that would have a Jewish state in its immediate area, they decided to become a nation of "refugees."

How many times has Israel attempted to work with the Arabs? How many times have the Arabs tossed the equivalent of "the finger?"

The incredible lies that have been told about Israel should amaze the entire world. More Jews were deported from Arab countries than deliberately left Israel when their Grand Mufti told them to leave so that the Arabs could kill all the Jews.

Every single Jew who had been thrown out of Arab countries were welcomed into Israel and were made citizens. The Arab countries simply isolated their own people refusing to permit them to become citizens. They have deliberately prevented them from becoming citizens in order to keep them as pawns so that the world would still think of them as "refugees."

Israel wants peace and have wanted peace for decades, it is the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians who refuse to go to the table. Look at what Arafat did when he was offered almost 100% of what he supposedly wanted only to turn it down and start yet another massacre against innocent Israelis.

Speaking of massacres, who was it that lobbed countless rockets into Israel to kill CIVILIANS? THINK! Israel forced their own citizens to leave the Gaza only to have the Arabs deliberately target civilians in Israel. Keep in mind that Israel is the ONLY DEMOCRACY in the Middle East. It is also the only country in that part of the world that permits people from all over the world to become citizens, not only Jews. All religions are permitted.

EVERY SINGLE ARAB STATE IS APARTHEID. Only ONE religion is permitted: Islam...but which Islam is the real Islam? They kill each other over differences in each other's views.

The so-called Palestinians are demanding that the Capitol of Judaism, Jerusalem, be their Capitol. Why? The Jewish scriptures mention Jerusalem hundreds of times. The Koran NEVER mentions Jerusalem. For three thousand years Jerusalem has been the heart beat of Judaism; it has never been an Arab city.

The "West Bank" is, in reality, Judea and Samara. The Jordanians, when they unlawfully occupied Judea and Samara during their attempt to destroy Israel renamed it the "West Bank."

The number of lies that are told about that area and Israel are too numerous to mention here, they should NEVER have anything close to statehood until they sit down with Israel and work things out. Until then, NO.

by: Opus Dei from: Above
November 27, 2012 9:59 PM
look and you will see... all across the Islamic nations... evil is exalted... and as predicted, France is the first to cower... and the UK is the last to resist... but the nation of Israel, will have to fight, and the "West" will read her sermons on how to live... may God bless you noble nation, you are alone facing the tide of Islamic depravity
In Response

by: angelina from: las vegas
December 01, 2012 3:06 AM
World best assassins are found in israel and for sure Arafat was poisoned by mossad.

by: Poster Atat
November 27, 2012 8:40 PM
I think one of the minimal requirements of being a 'state' is that you control yourself and your people do not attack civilians as a non-stop 'right', never-ending.

I would like to see the Kurds be included in any such talks, they are not at perpetual war, attacking innocent civilians whenever possible, as an absolute right. They're pretty much peaceful, they should be considered FIRST. All they want to do is live in peace, and even will do so even if they don't have a country of their own. That's WHY they should be considered FIRST, they are civilized.

by: angelina from: las vegas
November 27, 2012 6:22 PM
There are no words. Why do we go to war for oil,land grabbing to capture the resources of other countries waste huge money on jet fighters bombs yet allow children to be brutalized, tortured and murdered. In the name of what? Freedom - such an entitled and neglected gift by those who have it, such a precious and costly need for those who don't.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs