Palestinians Plan to Approach UN Security Council About Statehood in July

UN General Assembly authorized to accept Palestine as a member state, but can do so only after it receives a recommendation to this effect from the Security Council.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The Palestinian Authority plans to approach the United Nations Security Council in July to begin the process of getting Palestine recognized as a full member of the United Nations and to assure a vote on the matter by the General Assembly in September, Haaretz has learned.

The UN General Assembly is authorized to accept Palestine as a member state, but can do so only after it receives a recommendation to this effect from the Security Council. This is not likely to happen, because the United States vehemently objects to the Palestinians' unilateral efforts in the UN and it has veto power over Security Council decisions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office in 2009.Credit: AP

The Palestinians realize this, both Israeli and foreign diplomatic officials say, but they are interested in making sure that the United States is isolated on the Security Council and forced to exercise its veto.

The Palestinians will then ask the General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a state, without it being a full UN member.

Last Wednesday, the Palestinian leadership met in Ramallah to discuss the addresses of US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the meeting, the former chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, presented a document containing the Palestinian Authority's work plan through September for achieving full member status in the United Nations.

Mahmoud Abbas, far right, walking with Egyptian security head Hussein Tantawi in Cairo, May 30, 2011.Credit: AP

The document, whose contents reached Haaretz, sets a timeline for the stages the PA must go through according to the UN Charter. The General Assembly opens on September 15 in New York. Thus, to complete the procedural requirements that would lead to a General Assembly vote, the Palestinians must apply by mid-July at the latest.

According to the Palestinian plan, in mid-July Palestine will submit an official letter to the UN secretary-general asking that it be accepted as a full member of the United Nations on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders. In this letter, the Palestinians are expected to declare that the state of Palestine accepts the principles of the UN Charter.

The secretary-general will then pass on the request to the rotating president of the Security Council, which in July will be Germany.

To receive full UN membership, the Palestinians must be recognized as meeting various international criteria for statehood, such as a territory, a people, a recognized government and more.

Erekat's document states that after the Palestinian request is received, the Security Council will convene a special committee to debate the request. This committee must submit a report to council members at least 35 days before the General Assembly opens, meaning by August 10.

Given this schedule, the PA must make its initial request to the UN secretary general by mid-July.

After the report is submitted, the Security Council will vote whether to recommend accepting Palestine as a member state or to reject the request. If the Security Council recommends UN membership - as noted, an unlikely development - the Palestinians would need support of two-thirds of the General Assembly, 128 states, to attain membership.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that while he did not believe the Security Council would recommend membership, nothing could be done to prevent the UN General Assembly from recognizing a Palestinian state.

"They can decide that the world is flat, there's nothing we can do about it," said Netanyahu. "We have no way of blocking a decision by the assembly. We will get support there from only a few countries."

However, Netanyahu still said the move could be thwarted.

"We have no way to obstruct the UN decision," he said, warning that that the Palestinians will not succeed in their efforts in the UN Security Council. "It is impossible to recognize a Palestinian state without passing through the Security Council and such a move is bound to fail."



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