Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 08:28 IST

Palestine's Demand Grows for Full UN Membership, But US Certain of Blocking It Again

The supporters of the Palestine territory who sought for full membership in the United Nations asked the UN Security Council to revive their application.

Reported by: Ronit Singh
Palestine's Demand Grows for Full UN Membership, But US Certain of Blocking It Again | Image:UN Photo
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The supporters of the Palestine territory who sought for full membership in the United Nations asked the UN Security Council on Tuesday to revive their application submitted in 2011 and grant admission. The United States, however, remained certain to block it again. 

The supporters' letter to the security council president included the names of 140 countries that have recognised a Palestinian state, including members of the 22-nation Arab Group at the United Nations, the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the 120-member Nonaligned Movement.

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The fresh bid by the Palestine to book a spot at the United Nations comes at the time of war between Hamas and Israel that broke out on October 7 last year and the unresolved decade-old issue remains to be the backburner for both the nations. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the Palestinian Authority's application to become the 194th member of the United Nations to then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept 23, 2011, before addressing world leaders at the General Assembly.

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That bid failed because the Palestinians failed to get the required support of nine of the Security Council's 15 members. Even if they did, the United States, Israel's closest ally, had promised to veto any council resolution endorsing Palestinian membership.

The United States has repeatedly said full UN membership should follow a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

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“Our position has not changed,” US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told several reporters Tuesday, reiterating that the issue of full Palestinian membership in the UN is one of the final status issues to be decided in bilateral talks between the Palestinians and Israel on a peace agreement.

After the Palestinians' initial bid for full UN membership was rejected, they went to the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, and by more than a two-thirds majority succeeded in having their status raised from a UN observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012.

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That change opened the door for the Palestinian territories to join UN and other international organisations, including the International Criminal Court.

Malta's UN Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, the current Security Council president, told reporters Monday that the council's standing committee for new members, which includes all 15 council nations, is expected to meet behind closed doors to consider the application.

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The committee would then decide whether to recommend membership to the General Assembly.

Wood's comments Tuesday on the unchanged US position appear to doom Palestine's full UN membership again.

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Malta has invited ministers to the monthly Security Council meeting on April 18 where the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza and the council's call for a cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends April 9 and was rejected by both parties, is expected to take center stage.

But the issue of Palestine's full membership in the United Nations is certain to be raised as well.

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 08:28 IST