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UN General Assembly poised to support Palestinian request for membership

The United Nations General Assembly is poised to endorse a Palestinian endeavor to achieve full UN membership, affirming its qualification for admission and referring the application back to the UN Security Council for a “favorable reconsideration.”

This resurgence of the Palestinian bid for full UN membership, tantamount to acknowledging a Palestinian state, follows its recent veto by the United States in the 15-member UN Security Council.

The forthcoming vote within the 193-member General Assembly, scheduled for Friday, serves as a global gauge of support for the Palestinian cause. Attaining full UN membership entails approval first from the Security Council and subsequently from the General Assembly.

Although the General Assembly lacks the authority to confer full UN membership independently, the proposed resolution slated for Friday’s vote promises the Palestinians certain additional privileges and rights starting September 2024, such as a seat among UN members in the assembly hall, albeit without voting rights.

Diplomats anticipate that the draft text is likely to garner the necessary support for adoption.

The Palestinian pursuit of full UN membership arises amid heightened tensions, occurring seven months into a severe Israeli offensive in Gaza and against the backdrop of Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, deemed illegal by the UN.

Currently recognized as a non-member observer state since 2012 by the UN General Assembly, the Palestinians seek to elevate their status within the international community.

US funding

On Thursday, the Palestinian UN mission in New York communicated to UN member states via a letter, asserting that endorsing the draft resolution supporting full UN membership would serve as an investment in upholding the longstanding goal of a two-state solution.

The letter emphasized that such an endorsement “would constitute a clear reaffirmation of support at this very critical moment for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State.”

The United Nations has consistently advocated for a vision of two states coexisting peacefully within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians aspire to establish a state encompassing the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, territories seized by Israel during the 1967 war with neighboring Arab states.

Earlier this week, the US mission to the United Nations reiterated its stance, asserting that the pathway to Palestinian statehood lies through direct negotiations.

Israel’s UN Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, criticized the draft resolution on Monday, denouncing its attempt to confer upon Palestinians the de facto status and rights of a state. He contended that the adoption of the text would have no tangible impact on the ground.

Erdan warned, “If it is approved, I expect the United States to completely stop funding the UN and its institutions, in accordance with American law.”

According to US legislation, Washington is prohibited from providing funding to any UN entity that grants full membership to a group lacking the “internationally recognized attributes” of statehood. In 2011, the United States ceased funding the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, after the Palestinians gained full membership.

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