The UN General Assembly Demands that Palestine be Admitted to the Security Council

Palestine’s rights inside the UN have been strengthened, and the UN General Assembly has urged for Palestine to be admitted as a member.

Since 2012, Palestine has been granted non-member observer state status, which confers some privileges but does not grant full membership.

The UN Security Council is the sole body that can decide on membership.

Although the US would block a bid for full council membership, Friday’s decision can be interpreted as a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.

It coincides with rumours that numerous European nations intend to acknowledge the existence of a Palestinian state.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s head of foreign policy, said on Thursday on the Spanish broadcaster RTVE that Spain would take action on May 21. Before, he had stated that Malta, Slovenia, and Ireland would follow suit, but he had not specified when.

With Friday’s UN resolution, Palestine now has more rights within the global organisation, including the ability to actively participate in discussions, suggest items for the agenda, and elect members to committees.

It will not, however, be able to vote, as this requires support from the Security Council and is outside the authority of the General Assembly.

General Assembly grants Palestine non-member observer State status at UN

For many years, the international world has struggled with the question of Palestinian statehood.

The principal Palestinian group, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), first proclaimed the creation of the State of Palestine in 1988.

139 of the 193 UN members have accepted Palestinian statehood, according to the Reuters news agency. However, this recognition is primarily considered as symbolic.

In areas of the West Bank that are under Israeli occupation, the Palestinians have restricted self-government through the Palestinian Authority (PA). In 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from the PA. The UN views both areas as under Israeli occupation and as belonging to a same political entity.

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The current Israeli government is against the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and does not recognise the sovereignty of the Palestinian people. It contends that Israel’s existence would be threatened by such a state.

The US supports the “two state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian problem, which calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, but it insists that direct talks between the two parties should be the only route to achieving this goal.

An Algerian proposal that was generally supported and called for Palestine’s admission as a state was blocked last month by the US, which said it was “premature” and used its veto power as one of the Security Council’s five permanent members to stop it.

General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding; resolutions of the Security Council are.

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