Palestinians Relaunch Bid for Full Member of United Nations

The Palestinians have officially relaunched their bid for full membership in the United Nations. This move was initiated through a letter from the Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, comes as the Palestinians seek recognition of their statehood, which they have been lobbying for since gaining observer status in 2012.

Palestinians Relaunch Bid for Full Member of United Nations

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The Palestinians have pursued the goal of full UN membership since President Mahmoud Abbas submitted their initial application in 2011.

Despite facing hurdles and rejection due to insufficient support in the Security Council, they secured non-member observer state status in 2012.

Now, against the backdrop of tensions and violence particularly by Hamas’ attack on October 7, 2023, the Palestinian Authority, under the guidance of UN envoy Riyad Mansour, has reignited its quest for statehood within the global forum.

The Palestinians initially applied for full UN membership in 2011, under President Mahmoud Abbas. Their bid failed due to lack of support in the Security Council and the promise of a U.S. veto.

In 2012, the General Assembly granted them non-member observer state status, allowing them to join international organizations, including the International Criminal Court.

In response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, triggered by an attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, the Palestinians view UN membership as a priority. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN envoy, addressed the issue.

Mansour’s letter, dated Tuesday, requests reconsideration of the 2011 application for UN membership. The letter has been transmitted to the Security Council for review.

The League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement have also expressed support for the Palestinian bid.

The Palestinian push for membership faces challenges including the likelihood of a U.S. veto in the Security Council. Previous attempts to gain membership have been due to lack of sufficient support in the Security Council.

The Palestinians highlight the support of 140 member states that have recognized the state of Palestine. Despite international recognition the path to full UN membership remains uncertain.

The United States maintains its stance that full UN membership for Palestine should come through bilateral negotiations with Israel. US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood reiterated this position, indicating little change in the US approach.

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The issue of Palestinian UN membership is expected to be discussed at the Security Council meeting on April 18. The ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza is likely to dominate discussions during this meeting.

If the Palestinians were to gain full UN membership, it could alter the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour officially requested the reconsideration of their 2011 application for full membership.

The letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, underlines the urgency of the Palestinians’ quest for recognition particularly in the face of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

The Palestinians has international support for their bid, with letters from the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement backing their application.

140 member states have recognized the state of Palestine. The Palestinian bid faces hurdles particularly from the United States, Israel’s closest ally.

The US has opposed unilateral moves for Palestinian statehood, addressing the need for a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The application must first be recommended by the council, requiring at least nine votes in favor. The United States has the power to veto any resolution endorsing Palestinian membership.

If the Security Council approves the membership request, it proceeds to the General Assembly, where a two-thirds majority is needed for approval. While the General Assembly lacks veto power, securing sufficient support remains challenging.

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