State of Palestine: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Part Thirty One
As of July 2009, about 305,000 Israelis lived in 121 settlements in the West Bank. The 2.4 million West Bank Palestinians (according to Palestinian evaluations) live primarily in four blocs centered in Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, and Jericho.
In 2011, the PLO submitted an application for membership of Palestine in the United Nations. The campaign was formally backed by the Arab League. The decision was labelled by the Israeli government as a unilateral step, while the Palestinian government countered that it was essential to overcoming the current impasse. Several other countries, such as Germany and Canada, also denounced the decision and called for a prompt return to negotiations. However, many others, such as Norway and Russia, have endorsed the plan as did the UN Secretary-General.
State of Palestine
In 2012, it was reported that the Hamas Government in Gaza was considering declaring the independence of the Gaza Strip with the help of Egypt. The Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) promised to renew efforts to upgrade the Palestinian (PLO) status to “full member state” at the U.N. General Assembly.
By September 2012, with their application for full membership stalled due to the inability of Security Council members to “make a unanimous recommendation”, Palestine decided to pursue an upgrade in status from “observer entity” to “non-member observer state”. It was announced that the appeal had been officially made, and would be put to a vote in the General Assembly where their status upgrade was expected to be supported by a majority of states. In addition to granting Palestine “non-member observer state status”, the draft resolution:
…expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider favorably the application submitted on September 23, 2011 by the Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations, endorses the two state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, and stresses the need for an immediate resumption of negotiations between the two parties.
In a 138–9 vote (with 41 abstaining), General Assembly resolution 67/19 passed, upgrading Palestine to “non-member observer state” status in the United Nations. The new status equates Palestine’s with that of the Holy See. The change in status has been described by as “de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine”.
The UN has permitted Palestine to title its representative office to the UN as “The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations”, and Palestine has started to re-title its name accordingly on postal stamps, official documents and passports, whilst it has instructed its diplomats to officially represent “The State of Palestine”, as opposed to the ‘Palestine National Authority’. Additionally, on December 17, 2012, UN Chief of Protocol decided that “the designation of ‘State of Palestine’ shall be used by the Secretariat in all official United Nations documents”, thus recognizing the PLO-proclaimed State of Palestine as being sovereign over the territories Palestine and its citizens under international law.
As of February 2013, 131 (67.9%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized the State of Palestine. Many of the countries that do not recognize the State of Palestine nevertheless recognize the PLO as the ‘representative of the Palestinian people’
Palestine: Part 32 – Conclusion