Palestinian Birth Certificate recognized: Wins Status of a ‘State’ in Vote by U.N. Assembly
In an overwhelming majority at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, 29 November to elevate Palestine to the status of a State, Asian Tribune endorses the interpretation that the State of Palestine's 'Birth Certificate' has finally been recognized.
With the winning of the status of state in the world body in particular and in global affairs in general the Palestinian State could gain access to U.N. agencies and international bodies, most significantly the International Criminal Court, which could become a springboard for going after Israel for alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land.
The New York Times put it this way: "A major concern for the Americans is that the Palestinians might use their new status to try to join the International Criminal Court. That prospect particularly worries the Israelis, who fear that the Palestinians might press for an investigation of their practices in the occupied territories.
"Another worry is that the Palestinians might use the vote to seek membership in specialized agencies of the United Nations, a move that could have consequences for the financing of the international organizations as well as the Palestinian Authority itself. Congress cut off financing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, in 2011 after it accepted Palestine as a member. The United States is a major contributor to many of these agencies and plays an active role on their governing boards. "
The 193-member U.N. body voted 138 to 9 in favor of a resolution that stops well short of conferring independence on the Palestinians, but grants their territory limited privileges as a state, including the right to join international treaty bodies. Forty-one countries abstained.
The tally took place after a speech by Mr. Abbas to the General Assembly, in which Mahmoud Abbas called the moment a “last chance” to save the two-state solution amid a narrowing window of opportunity.
The vote for the resolution upgrading Palestine’s U.N. observer status from “entity” to “non-member observer state” was greeted by cheers and celebratory gunfire, according to agency media reports, from Palestinians in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority government, but was strongly denounced in Washington and Jerusalem.
The vote offered a showcase for an extraordinary international lineup of support for the Palestinians and constituted a deeply symbolic achievement for their cause, made even weightier by arriving on the 65th anniversary of the General Assembly vote that divided the former British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab — a vote that Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth.
When the General Assembly voted to divide Palestine into two states in 1947, Arabs rejected the division of the land and the creation of Israel. But since the late 1980s, the Palestine Liberation Organization has officially endorsed two states, with the state of Palestine defined as comprising the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza — areas beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders that it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Addressing the General Assembly before the vote, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the body to “issue the birth certificate of Palestine” — 65 years to the day after it adopted a resolution that he said “became the birth certificate for Israel.”
The resolution offers “the last chance to save the two-state solution,” Abbas said, referring to the vision of Israelis and Palestinians living peacefully in their own states side by side. He said the vote would “breathe new life” into the Middle East peace process.
“We did not come here to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” Abbas said.
But he also lashed out at Israeli for its offensive this month against the Gaza Strip, from which militant Palestinians have launched rockets at Israeli cities and towns.
“The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence,” Abbas said. This situation “obligates the international community to shoulder its responsibilities,” he added.
Speaking in Washington minutes after the vote, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the U.N. resolution “unfortunate and counterproductive.”
“We have been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace they both deserve: Two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable, and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel,” she said.
The New York Times reported 'as expected, the vote won backing from a number of European countries, and was a rebuff to intense American and Israeli diplomacy.'
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement calling Mr. Abbas’s speech “defamatory and venomous” that was “full of mendacious propaganda against the IDF and the citizens of Israel.”
“Someone who wants peace does not talk in such a manner," the statement continued.
- Asian Tribune -