Palestinians cast first-ever vote in U.N. General Assembly

“A routine U.N. General Assembly vote held special significance for the Palestinian delegation on Monday as it cast a ballot for the first time, an act the Palestinian envoy said brought his nation a step closer to full U.N. membership.

The chief Palestinian U.N. observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, participated in the 193-nation assembly’s election of a judge for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Koffi Kumelio Afande of Togo was elected to the court.

It was the first time the Palestinians cast a vote since their U.N. status was upgraded a year ago this month to “non-member state” from “entity,” like the Vatican. The vote has been perceived as a de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood.

“This is a very, very special moment in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian people at the United Nations,” Mansour told a small group of reporters.

“It’s a symbolic (step),” he said. “But it is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.”

The upgrade of the Palestinians’ status last year came after an attempt to secure full U.N. membership failed because of U.S. resistance in the Security Council, where Washington made clear it would use its veto power to block the Palestinian bid.

But no country has veto power in the General Assembly, which is why the Palestinians had no trouble securing status as a non-member state. The status upgrade allows them to participate in some assembly votes and join some international organizations.

The Palestinians have threatened to use their new U.N. status to accede to a number of international organizations and possibly sign the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Palestinians have not joined the ICC yet. In 2011, however, they joined UNESCO, the U.N. education, science and culture agency, which led Washington and Israel to cut off funding to the Paris-based organization in protest.

Earlier this month, UNESCO suspended the voting rights of the United States and Israel.

Mansour said he hopes the Palestinians will become full members of the United Nations soon, though the United States have not indicated it has any plan to drop its opposition to that idea.”



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12 responses to “Palestinians cast first-ever vote in U.N. General Assembly

  1. Reblogged this on gingerblokeblog and commented:
    Another small step towards international recognition of the Palestinian state.

  2. Christopher Proudlove

    The following précis is taken from a joint article by David French and David Benjamin.
    If the U.N. grants statehood to the Palestinian Authority it will violate its own charter
    The Charter requires respect for existing treaties. It states in its preamble: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising out of treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”
    If it was to recognise a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, the U.N. would be an accomplice to a fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords which prohibit either side from taking any steps to change the status of the West Bank or Gaza pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations.
    The Charter opens U.N. Membership to “states” only, not to “movements.”
    Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations. (Article 4.1)
    The Palestinian Authority fails on several counts. First, U.N. membership is open to “states” only. Granting membership to an entity which cannot meet the most basic and accepted international legal requirements for statehood would not only be a violation of this foundational requirement, it would set a dangerous precedent. To regard Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza Strip as a “state” would mean stretching the meaning of the term beyond all reason.
    The Montevideo Convention of 1933 defines statehood as: a permanent population, a defined territory, government and capacity to enter into relations with the other states. The West Bank and Gaza Strip clearly fail to meet these criteria. The only authority exercised by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is that which it has through the sufferance of Israel, the parameters of which are defined in the Oslo Accords: the population and territory under the PA’s authority, the extent of its governing power and ability to carry on foreign relations only extend as far as that to which Israel has agreed. If the PA presses ahead with its unilateral course, its breach of the Oslo Accords would allow Israel to actually dismantle the PA.
    If the U.N. nullifies all objective criteria for statehood — leaving recognition open for all aspiring separatist movements with sufficient political influence — then it has laid a foundation for perpetual, bloody conflict. The floodgates would open for the multitude of secessionist groups worldwide who would easily qualify for statehood under the “new rules,” whether they be Tibetans, Tamils, Basques, Kurds, or any of the countless others seeking recognition of their “right” to independence and statehood.
    The proposed Palestinian state is engaged in open, offensive war against Israel.
    To practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours” (Preamble)
    To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace” (Article 1.2)
    Any declaration of independence on 1967 lines leaves the most populous city in the new Palestinian “state” in the hands of Hamas, a terrorist organisation at open war with Israel. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have declared an intention to form a unity government, leaving the whole of Palestinian territory under at least partial control of terrorists.
    As for “equal rights,” the PLO’s ambassador to the United States declared that any new Palestinian state should be judenrein (Jew free) , cleansed of all Jews. This declaration stands in stark contrast to Israel, which grants its Arab citizens full civil rights — indeed, Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy more civil liberties than the citizens of any Arab country in the Middle East.
    The Charter repeatedly emphasizes the need for peaceful resolutions to conflict:
    All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. (Article 2.3)
    All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. (Article 2.4)
    The prevailing deeply-held belief (and longstanding practice) of the PLO and Hamas is that they are entitled to use violence — to advance the maximalist goal of destroying Israel, or the more modest goal of ending Israel’s so-called “occupation” of the “Territories.” The unrelenting campaign of Palestinian terror, the content of the charters of the PLO and Hamas, and the widespread incitement to violence in Palestinian society are beyond dispute.
    This commitment to violence demonstrates that the Palestinians at present are simply not “able and willing” to carry out their obligations under the Charter. Even if, for argument’s sake, one were to accept that the Palestinians were genuinely “willing” to take on the obligations attendant to U.N. membership, very recent history shows they are not “able” to do so. The Palestinian Authority lost its short and vicious civil war with Hamas, leaving Hamas in total control of the Gaza Strip. Does any reasonable person believe that the PA is “able” to restrain Hamas? Has the PA ever demonstrated an ability to restrain Hamas? Can the Palestinian delegation to the U.N. provide any reassurance that Hamas won’t also seize the West Bank — either through bullets or the ballot?
    The Palestinians Intend to Circumvent the Proper Admission Procedure.
    The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. (Article 4.2)
    The Charter’s meaning is plain: A Security Council recommendation is a prerequisite to membership. There were sound reasons for the framers of the Charter to vest this responsibility with the world’s leading powers in the Security Council, among them the need for the Security Council to act as a brake on the General Assembly. Since the U.S. is so far vowing to veto the Palestinian membership bid, the Palestinians may ask the General Assembly to use the obscure “Uniting for Peace” framework and adopt a resolution which, although not legally binding under the Charter, would be a “moral equivalent” to admitting a Palestinian state as a U.N. member. To use a domestic legal example, such a manoeuvre would be the equivalent of using a congressional resolution to circumvent the Bill of Rights.
    Does international law matter? Is the U.N. Charter viable? The questions are that stark. Abandoning international law for the political expedience of recognizing a non-existent Palestinian state could very well lead to even greater violence. The Middle East is a tinderbox, and the Palestinians are trying to strike a match.

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    The originator of this website, ‘Trevor Barclay,’ so far has adamantly refused to accept that the term ‘homeland’ can be used as an alternative word for nation state as it is in the San Remo Treaty. He refused to budge from this blinkered position when I pointed out that the US Department for Homeland Security covered every inch of every individual state in the union.
    The term homeland is used in the Palestinian National Covenant of 1968. Article 1: “Palestine is the HOMELAND of the Palestinian Arab people and an integral part of the Great Arab Homeland.”
    Article 2: “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit. (The state of Israel does not exist in Palestinian Arab eyes despite the Jewish state being a United Nations member since 1949.)
    Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not tactics. The Palestinian Arab people affirm its absolute resolution and abiding determination to pursue the armed struggle and march toward the armed popular revolution, to liberate its HOMELAND.”
    Article 19: “The portioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed.
    There is an old adage which states: ‘If you want peace then prepare for war.”
    In view of the Palestinian Arabs words above it is no wonder that Israel pays great heed to the first duty of any government is defence of the realm. It amazes me that Israel is blamed for being a warmonger when from its restoration in 1948 it has suffered innumerable attacks, wars, and threats of annihilation from leaders of surrounding nations.

  4. “The originator of this website, ‘Trevor Barclay,’ so far has adamantly refused to accept that the term ‘homeland’ can be used as an alternative word for nation state as it is in the San Remo Treaty.”

    Where in the San Remo treaty can i find this term “Homeland” or the term “Nation State” or “Jewish State”

    Now we know the term “state” was in use during San Remo because it’s right there in the mandate. So why doesn’t it refer to a “Jewish State”?

  5. Christopher Proudlove

    Israel Hayom newspaper reported: “Just ahead of the 66th anniversary of the passage of the U.N. partition plan, the U.N. General Assembly held a special session on Monday to mark “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” during which a series of anti-Israel resolutions were passed.
    Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor slammed the U.N. for its conduct regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    “Anti-Israel bias pervades the U.N. system all year round,” Prosor said. “In 2012, [the U.N. General Assembly] found the time to pass 22 resolutions condemning Israel — compared with only four that single out other nations,” Prosor said. “The worst human rights abusers receive a fraction of the condemnation that Israel — the only democracy in the Middle East — receives. These irresponsible actions have irreversible consequences. The states that rubberstamp the anti-Israel resolutions every year, have given the Palestinians a false sense of reality and fed their culture of victimhood.”

    “All those who claim to advance peace must remind the Palestinians that there are no shortcuts,” Prosor said. “Peace is not achieved by changing your nameplate at the U.N.; it isn’t achieved by unilateral actions or by passing a string of anti-Israel resolutions; and it won’t be achieved in Manhattan, Midtown east, but rather in the Middle East. So long as the Palestinian leadership chooses symbolism over pragmatism, it will be harder to achieve peace.”

    Prosor said that U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel “have no relationship to the facts on the ground.”

    “Just last week the U.N. adopted nine resolutions condemning Israel,” Prosor said. “One of these resolutions condemned Israel’s treatment of the Syrian people. Condemned Israel’s treatment of the Syrian people? It is inconceivable that while Israeli hospitals are treating the Syrians who escaped [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s massacre, the U.N. is denouncing Israel’s treatment of the Syrians.”

    “If that weren’t enough, the GA will soon vote on another resolution calling on Israel to hand over the Golan Heights and its residents to Syria. It is nothing short of absurd for the U.N. to demand that even more civilians be subject to Assad’s brutality.”

  6. Christopher Proudlove

    ‘Trevor Barclay’ asks why doesn’t the San Remo Treaty refer to a Jewish State? The treaty uses the alternative of homeland. The term homeland is also used the Palestinian Charter and in America’s Homeland Security department. That’s why the United Nations voted for Israel to become a nation state on 29 November 1947. Jews are the real indigenous people of the Holy Land and have been based in the land that God Promised to them for 4,000 years. Most Arabs in this territory have settled there relatively recently.

  7. “The treaty uses the alternative of homeland.”

    Where can i find the term “homeland” in the treaty?

  8. Christopher Proudlove

    I wonder if the organiser of this website, who has led me to believe that his name is Trevor Barclay, turns up at universities and rallies to heckle pro-Israel speakers. However, I’ll give ‘Trevor’ his due for allowing freedom on this website. Now, a directive issued by a committee of British universities offers guidelines for hosting foreign guest speakers on UK college campuses. This is raising hopes in Israel that it will prevent outbursts against Israeli speakers at British institutions.
    It is common for Israeli speakers on British campuses to be interrupted during their speeches, and not unknown for them to have been heckled offstage by pro-Palestinian protesters.
    The directive offers recommendations for preventing hecklers from disrupting speakers on controversial issues such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, and provides guidelines on how to avoid potentially explosive situations.
    Israel’s Science and Technology Minister, Yaakov Peri, met British Prime Minister David Cameron this week to discuss the Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation project.
    “The scientific cooperation agreement between Israel and Britain is the most appropriate response to British calls to boycott Israel,” said Peri.

  9. Christopher Proudlove

    Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, is used by extremist Muslims to incite jihad against the Jewish state.
    Palestinian Authority (PA) religious leader Sheikh Omar Abu Sara’a, speaking at the Al Aqsa Mosque, hit out at the “weak” PA for negotiating with Israel.
    He pointed out that Islam’s Prophet Mohammed urged his followers to “fight” the Jews, not hold discussions with them. “For Jews, we do not have but the sword and by extension we need to hold an all-out war against them and not talk with them,” demanded the sheikh.
    Many Israelis say the nation’s conciliatory policies mean that the Jewish state has already surrendered the holy site to its enemies. The fact that Sara’a and other Muslim clerics can use the Temple Mount to openly call for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews amplifies their concerns.

  10. Christopher Proudlove

    Last week an American university severed ties with the Hamas-linked Al-Quds University in Jerusalem after a Nazi-style rally by Islamic Jihad. Now, further evidence of fascist-style events at the leading Palestinian Arab institution has emerged.
    MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) has issued video clips from separate rallies at Al-Quds University, in which Islamic Jihad members were cheered as they brandished imitation assault rifles, black Islamist flags, and gave Nazi salutes.
    The “show” featured terrorists killing Israeli soldiers and executing a collaborator who was denounced as a “traitor” and a “spy.”
    British journalist Tom Gross said attempts by Al-Quds to excuse the November 5th rally as an isolated event were disingenuous.
    He alleged: “The emergence of a video showing another Fascistic-style, militaristic Islamic Jihad rally, on what appears to be the main campus of Al-Quds University this past May — together with Palestinian students at Al-Quds who have informed me that the student factions of both Hamas and the PFLP held similar rallies at Al-Quds University this semester a few weeks ago — calls into question the claims by the Al-Quds university authorities that the November 5 rally was a one-off event, which they claim they didn’t know about until they saw the photos of it.”

  11. Please address the question.

    “The treaty uses the alternative of homeland.”

    Where can i find the term “homeland” in the treaty?

  12. Are you avoiding the above question?

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