Friday, September 16, 2011

Palestinians Will Seek UN Membership on Sept. 23

John Glaser

The Palestinians will submit their request for full statehood membership at the United Nations on September 23, according to Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki. The vote will be put to the UN Security Council and subject to US veto.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will personally submit the request to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after addressing the General Assembly on the afternoon of Sept. 23. That same day, Netanyahu announced he will be addressing the General Assembly as well.

The impending US veto will starkly display the skewed American stance on Israel-Palestine as never before. The Obama administration has come up with no substantive objection to the Palestinians’ right to seek statehood at the UN beyond that it is an alternative route from the failed peace talks.

Palestinian recognition at the UN presents such a threat to Israel because Palestinian statehood may facilitate criminal prosecutions against the state of Israel for its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Statements that Israel is in violation of the law with respect to their policies towards Palestine, like the one this week which deemed the naval blockade on Gaza illegal, will have greater force of law behind them if Palestine becomes a state.

On the one hand, the administration will feel domestic pressure from a pro-Israel Congress to veto the resolution. On the other hand, the administration understands that key allies will be lost if they veto and that it will be their most blatant denial yet of basic rights for Palestinians and Arab Muslims in general. The resolution currently the support of overwhelming majorities in the Middle East and around the world.

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