Palestine is applying for full UN membership

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The UN Security Council on Monday asked its membership committee to review the Palestinian Authority’s application to be made a full member state of the United Nations.
But this is not the first time that Palestine has pushed for full UN membership.
The Security Council never formally voted on a resolution on Palestinian membership.
The situation saved the US, Israel’s closest ally, from having to wield its veto to deny Palestinian membership.
After the failed membership bid, the UN General Assembly upgraded Palestine from a “non-member observer entity” to a “non-member observer state” in 2012.
The 15-member membership committee will reconvene for a second time this week on Thursday to further discuss whether Palestine satisfies conditions.
A country cannot join the United Nations as a member state unless both the Security Council and General Assembly approve.
“The issue of full Palestinian membership is a decision that should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” Wood told reporters.


The Palestine Authority has applied to become a full member of the United Nations. The UN Security Council requested on Monday that its membership committee examine this application. Similar to the Vatican, the PA is currently a non-member observer state.

Reviving a longstanding bid, the application was submitted during the first six months of Israel’s war on Gaza. Vanessa Frazier, the current president of the UNSC and Malta’s UN ambassador, announced on Monday that the body would formally decide in April.

Riyad Mansour, the UN envoy for Palestine, stated that all Palestine desires is to be regarded as “equals to other nations and states.”. Israel’s war on Gaza has claimed the lives of over 33,000 Palestinians, and much of the besieged Palestinian territory is in a state of near-famine.

Palestine, however, has advocated for full UN membership before. An earlier attempt in 2011 was not even put to a vote. Furthermore, the veto-wielding United States had promised to thwart it even if it had.

What has changed, and will Palestine be successful this time?

What had previously occurred?

Referring to Palestine’s initial membership application submitted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2011, Mansour declared on Monday, “This is a historic moment again.”.

A UNSC committee evaluated the bid back then for a few weeks, but they were unable to come to a unanimous decision. A resolution regarding Palestinian membership was never formally put to a vote by the Security Council.

According to diplomats, Palestine did not have the necessary nine votes to pass a resolution. The circumstance spared the US, Israel’s strongest ally, from having to use its veto power to block the admission of Palestine.

As stated time and time again, the US believes that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should come before full UN membership.

The UN General Assembly elevated Palestine in 2012 from a “non-member observer entity” to a “non-member observer state” following the unsuccessful bid for membership.

What is the current UNSC procedure?

Last week, the PA formally requested that the UN Security Council reevaluate its 2011 application for full membership in the international organization.

To continue discussing whether Palestine satisfies requirements, the 15-member membership committee will meet again this week on Thursday.

The application may be withdrawn or presented to the UNSC for a formal vote.

Without vetoes, at least nine votes are needed for approval. The US, Russia, China, France, and Britain are the five permanent members of the UNSC and they each have one veto.

In the event that a more comprehensive agreement with Israel is not reached, the US has made it clear that it will continue to oppose Palestinian membership in the UN.

Robert Wood, the US deputy ambassador to the UN, stated last week that “our position has not changed.”.

That basically means that if the Palestinian Authority’s application is put to a vote in the UNSC, the US is likely to veto it.

What occurs if the UNSC approves the application?

In the event that the Palestinian Authority’s application passes the UNSC, it advances to the UNGA, where approval requires a two-thirds majority.

Without the consent of both the General Assembly and the Security Council, a nation cannot become a member of the UN.

Compared to the UNSC, the UNGA offers the application a better chance of approval. Over two-thirds of the General Assembly, or 139 countries, have recognized Palestine as a state thus far.

Furthermore, no country can override the majority in the UNGA with a veto, unlike the UNSC.

What has Israel stated?

Israel has long maintained that talks for a future Palestinian state would be seriously jeopardized if the Palestinian Authority were granted full UN membership status without any involvement from the parties.

The two-state solution, however, has become less relevant for Palestinian statehood as Israel, particularly under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has moved significantly away from it in recent years.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s UN ambassador, made connections between his nation’s survival and the status of Palestine on Monday. He made reference to the UN’s founding, saying that “the Palestinians continue to embrace the same genocidal ideology that this body was founded to combat.”.

For its part, the US persisted in being unaccommodating. “Israel and the Palestinians should negotiate over the issue of full Palestinian membership,” Wood stated to reporters.

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