UN Grants Membership-like Privileges to Palestine Next Year

Palestine (photo: Pixabay)
By Mei ManuelOctober 17th, 2018

On Tuesday, the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly permitted the Palestinians to act like a full UN member state for the meetings next year once they become the chair of the G77.

At least 146 votes were in favor for granting the temporary membership privileges to Palestine under the Egyptian-drafted resolution that would enable them to represent the G77 and China. At least 15 abstained, 29 did not vote and only the United States, Israel and Australia were against it.

In his speech to the General Assembly, US Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen said "We cannot support efforts by the Palestinians to enhance their status outside of direct negotiations. The United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state."

The Palestinians have been fighting to establish their own state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since the end of the Second World War. However, Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed East Jerusalem, earning them international opposition.

Cohen further added "We strongly oppose the Palestinians' election as chair of the G77, as well as this so-called enabling resolution. Only UN member states should be entitled to speak and act on behalf of major groups of states at the United Nations."

Australian UN Ambassador Gillian Bird said in her speech "Australia's decision to vote no on this resolution reflects our long-standing position that Palestinian attempts to seek recognition as a state in international fora are deeply unhelpful to efforts toward a two-state solution."

Since 2012, the UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after upgrading its status from being a UN observer to a non-member state status. This permitted them to participate in some of the General Assembly's votes and join international bodies. However, as a non-member state, they could not speak during meetings unless the member states are finished speaking.

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