Palestine’s Appeal for UN Membership

David Mruz, Staff Writer

Since the failure of negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the controversial nation of Palestine is looking to make an appeal for full membership in the United Nations on September 23rd.  If Palestine received membership, it would undoubtedly have a dynamic effect on Middle Eastern politics for better or for worse.  Many nations have been quick to express their stance on the issues, notably the nation of Israel and its ally the United States.

Israel has been quick to state its objections to its rival’s status in statehood.  Benjamin Netanyahu has stated over the past week of his certainty that Palestine will fail in its bid for membership.  Barack Obama has also given his veto and intends for the remainder of the United Nations General Assembly to do the same.  He has stated that the matter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s resolution will not come from the United Nations, but rather from an agreement between the two belligerent countries.  Though few nations have displayed a favorable opinion of Palestine’s UN statehood, some have disagreed with Obama’s decision to simply veto Palestine’s application.

President Sarkozy of France has stated that in denying Palestine the status of being a nation, violence may again spread between the two countries.  While France is not in favor of Palestine’s attempts to gain membership status in the United Nations, they have made efforts to discourage the application from being submitted to the UN rather than blatantly opposing it on the floor of the General Assembly.  France has even offered to grant Palestine special recognition as a nonmember in an effort to reach a reasonable compromise that would benefit both Israel and Palestine.  The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas vowed to Barack Obama at a White House meeting that he would continue to press for UN membership.

The people of Palestine have showed considerable support in their president’s decision.  This past Wednesday, people gathered across the West Bank to demonstrate in favor of the motion.  They gathered in various cities, most notably Bethlehem, Hebron, and Ramallah.  To help bolster the numbers, the government closed schools across the region.

Presently, the nation of Palestine is recognized as a permanent observing entity in the UN.  Though Barack Obama has called for peace talks between Israel and Palestine, Palestine says this push for membership is a result of the breakdown of peace talks.  When Palestine submits the application tomorrow, the debate on the matter will extend several weeks before a final vote is taken.  The many larger nations in the UN aren’t in favor of Palestine’s membership, believing that the step Palestine is taking appears to circumvent the need for a mutual agreement with neighboring Israel.  As a more favorable alternative, the US, EU, Russia, and other UN members have stated their preference that the two nations consider when peace talks should be held and what the two sides would be willing to agree upon.  As of the most recent reports, no such steps have been taken thus far.