Thursday, 29 November 2012

PALESTINE: '' The UN bid'': The Palestinians at the brink of historic moment

The Palestinians will present the statehood bid to the UN General Assembly today, 29th November 2012. The bid needs a majority vote from the assembly's 193 members to win, which already recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, are in favor of the update. The acting PA Chief, Mahmoud Abbas sent 316-word resolution late Monday, ahead of today bid.

Currently, Palestine is regarded as an observer entity at the United Nations. Accepting Palestine as non-member state, similar to the Vatican's UN status, would implicitly recognize the Palestinian statehood.

This time around, the Palestinian Authority's bid at the United Nations to upgrade its status will be backed by nearly half of the all European Unions nations, except of course Great Bretain and Germany.

Last year, eleven EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Spain, backed the decision by the UN cultural agency (Unesco) to admit Palestine as a member.  Eleven of the EU countries abstained: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and the UK. Those who voted against were the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The United States and Israel, however, have spared no means for the past two years to stymie the Palestinians' efforts towards upgrading Palestine's status at the UN, arguing that it is only through negotiations with Israel that Palestinian statehood ambitions can yield.

The US blocked Palestine's full membership bid at the UN Security Council last year, using its veto power. In 2010, Israel broke down the talks after refusing to extend a moratorium on its settlement activities on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The PA cites Israel's continued aggression against Palestinians and Tel-Aviv's settlement activities on the Occupied Palestinian Territories as the major reasons for its push for the upgrade. The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas has thrown its weigh behind Abbas and welcomed the ''step of going to the United Nations for state observer status.

The observer state status will grant Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which recognized the need to establish a Jewish state alongside am Arab state in the former British Mandate territory of Palestime.

The Palestinian side, which is ready to return to the negotiating table, after granting the Palestinian state's membership, believes that this could be the last chance for making peace in the Middle East, on the one hand, Israel is more concerned that granting Palestine '' non-member observer state'' at the UN could automatically giving Palestine the power to make a case against Israel at the International  Criminal Court, on the other hand.

Two days ago, the US has termed as ''mistake'' the Palestinian bid to become a non-member observer state at the UN, a move supported by countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa-warning it would derail the West Asia peace process and vowing to oppose it. The UK has echoed the same sentiment.

If Palestine's wish of ''non member observer state'' is granted today, it could be a historic moment for the Palestinians and Israel must rethink its strategies of the peace process.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Political Analyst/Writer
Investigative Journalist