Sunday, December 2, 2012

Palestine's Non Member Observer Status in UN

On 29th November 2012, in a historic session of the United Nations, exactly 65 years after passing the Partition Plan for Palestine(in 1947), the General Assembly voted by a huge majority to recognize Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member state with observer status in the organization.
[Note: With this vote, UN General Assembly has accepted Palestine as a state, though as "non-member".] 

Some 138 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 41 abstained and 9 voted against: Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, U.S., Panama, The Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, and Micronesia. 
[Note: Germany, UK among others abstained from voting]

So how is this new status for Palestine going to help its case?

1. Palestine can now participate as an observer in the various sessions and the work of the General Assembly and voice its concerns against Israel. However Palestine cannot vote.
2. Till now Palestine was not recognized as a state, hence it was unable to bring cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court of Justice(ICC), for the various supposed war crimes Israel committed against Palestinians. Now that the UN vote gives Palestine the status of a state(though "non-member"), they can go to the ICC and pursue its case. 
3. Countries that till now did not accord full diplomatic status to Palestine can now think of doing so. 
[Note: Majority of African, Asian and East European countries have diplomatic mission established with Palestine, including India, where we have its Embassy]

What is the background and what are Palestinians asking for?

The Palestinian-Israel conflict has dragged on for more than 115 years, where both claim historic and religious ties to the land. The geopolitical disputed area lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river. 

Timeline - See how Palestine land has declined over the years
Click on the picture to expand
The Palestinians now want that an independent, sovereign state be established in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip - occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. The 1993 Oslo Accord between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel led to mutual recognition. However, two decades of on-off peace talks have since failed to produce a permanent settlement and the latest round of direct negotiations broke down in 2010. 

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