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Palestinian resolution for upgraded UN status filed
 
 
 

UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinian Authority has submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly that would recognise the Palestinians as a nonmember state of the UN.The resolution would have the 193-member Assembly decide “to accord to Palestine Nonmember Observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and practice.”It “reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”The draft also expresses “the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process” to achieve “a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides that resolves all outstanding core issues, namely the Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security and water.”  A vote is set for Thursday in the Assembly, the 65th anniversary of the Assembly’s resolution that created Israel by partitioning British-mandate Palestine into Israeli and Palestinian states. The Palestinians rejected the resolution and war with Israel ensued, leaving the Palestinians without a state. The Palestinians then accepted the partition resolution in 1988 when it formally declared independence.Since 132 nations have already recognized the territory as a sovereign state, with some having exchanged ambassadors, a simple majority vote of 97 countries is all but certain.The United States and Israel and have put intense pressure on Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Fatah Party-led Palestinian Authority, to put off the vote, arguing it is a “unilateral” move in the multilateral assembly, and that statehood can only come through direct Israeli-Palestinian talks. The US Congress has threatened to cut off funding to the authority and to any UN agency Palestinians might join as a result of their UN upgrade. Israel has threatened to withhold tax revenue, which it collects for the Palestinians.Despite these threats, Abbas is heading to New York to be present for the Thursday vote, which may garner as many as 130 votes in favour, diplomats said.As the conflict raged in Gaza last week, the Palestinians’ bid to become a nonmember observer state—which had been a focal point in Palestinian-Israeli relations—had essentially become a sideshow.Hamas, which had consistently opposed the UN bid, reversed course on Sunday, declaring that it now supports it.“[Hamas leader] Khaled Meshaal…held a telephone conversation with Palestinian president [Mahmoud] Abbas in which he affirmed that Hamas welcomes the step of going to the United Nations for state observer status,” a Hamas statement said.The U.S. doesn’t have a veto to block the bid in the Assembly as it does in the Security Council, where last year its veto threat helped kill the authority’s move for full UN membership.“We’ve obviously been very clear that we do not think that this step is going to bring the Palestinian people any closer to a state, that we think it is a mistake, that we oppose it, that we will oppose it,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland at a press briefing on Monday.While the Palestinians had been counting on at least 115 votes before the war, they feared some European nations that have recognized the territory would abstain, diplomats said. The prospect of a more legitimate 130 votes is now within reach, they added.As an upgraded observer state, a Palestinian state could join treaties and specialized UN agencies, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Criminal Court, officials said. That would give a Palestinian state legal rights over its territorial waters and air space, and would allow it to bring war-crimes charges against Israel.“So many doors would open up to us,” said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer.

 
 
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