'Palestinians' submit resolution on UN status
The Wall Street Journal
reports that 'Moderate
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
has gone to New York and submitted a resolution to upgrade his entity's status
at the United Nations General Assembly. The 'Palestinians' hope to bring the resolution to a vote on Thursday, which is the anniversary of the 1947 vote to partition into a Jewish and an Arab state the 22% of the 'Palestine' mandate that remained after most of the mandate was used to create the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is an historical fact that the Jews accepted the partition, while the Arabs rejected it, preferring instead to drive the Jews into the sea.
Since 132 nations have already recognized the territory as a
sovereign state, with some having exchanged ambassadors, a simple
majority vote of 97 countries is all but certain.
Israel and the U.S. have put intense pressure on Mahmoud Abbas,
president of the Fatah Party-led Palestinian Authority, to put off the
vote, arguing it is a "unilateral" move in the multilateral assembly,
and that statehood can only come through direct Israeli-Palestinian
talks. The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut off funding to the
authority and to any U.N. agency Palestinians might join as a result of
their U.N. upgrade. Israel has threatened to withhold tax revenue, which
it collects for the Palestinians.
Despite these threats, Mr. Abbas is heading to New York to be present
for the Thursday vote, which may garner as many as 130 votes in favor,
As the conflict raged in Gaza last week, the Palestinians' bid to
become a nonmember observer state—which had been a focal point in
Palestinian-Israeli relations—had essentially become a sideshow.
But now that the dust has settled from the latest round of violence,
diplomats say a groundswell of support for the Palestinian Authority and
its U.N. upgrade has been gaining ground because the war politically
strengthened Hamas at the expense of the more pro-Western authority.
More countries are lining up to support the U.N. bid to bolster the
authority at Hamas' expense, as the authority has renounced violence,
recognized Israel's right to exist and is considered a more reliable
negotiating partner than Hamas, diplomats said.
"This war has bolstered the prestige of Hamas because of its
resilience against Israel, and the whole idea now is saving Abbas," said
a European diplomat. "Fatah is in a politically difficult situation and
the idea is to try to restore or at least heal their political wounds,
and perhaps provide them with some political prestige by attaining a new
status at the U.N."
As an upgraded observer state, a Palestinian state could join
treaties and specialized U.N. agencies, such as the International Civil
Aviation Organization, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Criminal Court, officials
said. That would give a Palestinian state legal rights over its
territorial waters and air space, and would allow it to bring war-crimes
charges against Israel.
"So many doors would open up to us," said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer.
But there are serious risks for the Palestinians and for the U.N.
system if the vote is held. Israel has threatened to withhold $100
million a month in tax revenue, which it collects for Ramallah, if they
go ahead with it.
The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut off $500 million in security
and economic aid to the Palestinians if it becomes an observer state.
Congress cut off funding last year to Unesco, the U.N.'s cultural
agency, when it accepted a Palestinian state as a member. Congress has
already decided to stop funding any other U.N. organization that the
territory joins as a result of its upgraded status.
Despite these threats, the Palestinians are going for a Thursday vote.
"If anything Abbas is even more emboldened and certain to push ahead
on Thursday since the Gaza crisis has helped Hamas's stock rise at the
cost of Fatah's international clout. For example it gained more respect
and attention from Egypt, Turkey and Qatar," said a U.N. Security
The 316-word Palestinian draft calls for a resumption of talks with
Israel, without mentioning a long-standing authority condition of a
freeze on the building of settlements in the West Bank first. It also
makes no mention of joining U.N. agencies and treaties.
Before it was submitted on Monday, a European diplomat said that to
get more EU votes the draft should "make it explicit it isn't an
application to join funds and programs," which could trigger the
By leaving out direct mention of joining the International Criminal
Court or the other agencies, the Palestinians could keep those options
in reserve as "bargaining chips" with the Israelis down the road, rather
than "shoot the whole quiver" on Thursday, the diplomat said.
What could go wrong?
Labels: 1947 partition plan, Abu Mazen, Palestinian state RIGHT NOW syndrome, United Nations General Assembly