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Palestinian Authority submits bid for full UN membership

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The United States has indicated that it will block the move in the UN Security Council.


The Palestinian Authority submitted a request on Tuesday for the United Nations Security Council to vote this month on accepting the entity as a full member.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, P.A. U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour asked that an application submitted in 2011 be reconsidered. Another supporting letter was sent to Maltese diplomat Vanessa Frazier, who is currently serving as president of the 15-member council. That letter included the names of 140 countries that have recognized a Palestinian state.

However, the United States is expected to block the bid due to Washington’s long-standing policy that U.N. membership will only come as a result of a negotiated bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Our position has not changed,” U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters Tuesday, as quoted by the Associated Press.

It was reported in February, however, that the Biden administration was considering unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, which if true would mark a major foreign policy shift.

Mansour said on Monday that he hoped the U.N. Security Council will make a decision at an April 18 meeting on the Middle East, and Frazier told reporters on Monday that the council’s standing committee for new members, which includes all 15 UNSC members, is expected to meet privately to consider the application.

In his letter, Mansour claimed Ramallah’s 2011 membership application was still pending because the Security Council never made a formal decision on the matter. The P.A. currently holds U.N. observer status.

For the P.A. to gain full U.N. member-state status, at least nine of the 15 council members must approve the application, and then two-thirds of the U.N. General Assembly would have to support it in a vote.

There is widespread opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state in Israel, particularly after Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Israeli Jews oppose the creation of a Palestinian state while 27% support it, according to this year’s “Peace Index” survey, released by Tel Aviv University.

On Feb. 21, the Israeli Knesset voted 99-11 to back the government’s decision to reject any unilateral recognition of “Palestine.” All coalition lawmakers and most members of the Zionist opposition parties voted in favor of supporting a Cabinet statement rejecting “international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.”

Palestinian polls suggest that 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel in its entirety and replace it with a Palestinian-Islamic state.

Image: PLO envoy to the U.N. Riyad Mansour addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, April 25, 2022. Credit: Mark Garten/U.N. Photo.

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