By Bernhard Schell
GAZA (IDN) - The outcome of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' plans to achieve full membership for the state of Palestine in the United Nations in September is far from certain in the face of strong U.S. and Israeli reservations. But the Palestinians remain upbeat.
The resolve of Palestinians to have Palestine become the 194th member of the UN was underlined by Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian politician, a peace negotiator and member of the PLO's rival Fatah party's central committee.
Shaath told the Chinese news agency Xinhua on July 30 that the decision to approach the UN and demand recognition of the state of Palestine as a full member of the organization "will be so helpful to the Palestinian cause in all cases no matter what the consequences are."
"Applying to the UN will be fruitful and would at least show the international support to our legitimate rights and our sovereignty on our land. This is really very positive and so important for us and for our just cause," Shaath said.
However, the German news agency DPA said in a report July 29 that prominent Hamas leaders have firm views on the attempt by Palestinian President Abbas to get the UN to recognize a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, before Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan.
"Just nonsense," DPA quoted Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent Hamas member in Gaza saxing. "A Palestinian state means land, people and authority. And now, what is the border of Israel? Israel has had many borders in the last 30, 40 years. What border are we going to speak about?'"
The approach to the UN, he said, was a 'political scam.' He was equally unequivocal on the so-called two-state solution, which aims at an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing side by side.
"We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter because it is a fabricated state," the news agency quoted al-Zahar.
But Palestinian officials have assured in several media reports that they do not intend to unilaterally proclaim a state as they did in Algiers in 1988, nor will they seek recognition from the UN as a whole. Instead, they will continue to work for endorsement on a state-by-state basis, while applying for membership in the global body.
"Approaching the Security Council would be the only way for the Palestinians to gain full membership in the UN. But officials in Ramallah have indicated that they might also consider seeking General Assembly backing for an upgrade from their current observer status to that of a non-member state," a report stated.
Such an upgrade would allow the Palestinians to join all the UN agencies, including the World Health Organisation, the child welfare agency UNICEF and the world heritage body UNESCO. It could also provide an alternative for the Palestinians if the United States vetoes its bid for membership in the Security Council, as Washington has already threatened to do.
Earlier, PLO's negotiations affairs department (NAD) said in a report released last week of July that 122 UN member states had already recognized Palestine's statehood. The study titled Road for Palestine Statehood - Recognition and Admission says that Palestine has met all the conditions for forming an independent state enshrined in the 1933 Montevideo Convention, which states the rights and duties of countries.
PLO has obtained flanking support from the global campaign organisation Awaaz with nearly 10 million members around the world. Awaaz – meaning Voice in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages – is close to collecting the targeted 750,000 signatures online for recognition of Palestine as independent state.
According to the PLO report, the right of the Palestinian people to an independent, sovereign state has awaited implementation for sixty-four years. It is a debt owed by the international community to the Palestinian People that is long overdue.
"When the British government sought to terminate its mandate in Palestine, the international community, through the United Nations, recommended a solution to the conflict between immigrant Jewish communities and the indigenous Palestinian Arabs," PLO's NAD states.
The study report says the solution contained in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), called for the creation of two states. "Today, however, it is only one state, the State of Israel, that exists and is a full member of the UN. The Palestinians, who have suffered decades of displacement, dispossessions, and the systematic denial of their national and human rights, have yet to realize their independent state," the report says..
In 1988 the PLO declared the establishment of the State of Palestine over the territory occupied by Israel in 1967 – the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. "By limiting our national aspirations to 22% of the Palestinian people's historic homeland, the PLO made an historic compromise in the interest of peace. Palestinian concessions over land have been painful but they have been honoured," the report adds.
It says that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has repeatedly affirmed that the only formula for peace in the region is the two-state solution, which requires the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.
"More recently in 2009, the international community endorsed the Palestinian state-building plan, which concludes in September 2011 and later recognized that Palestinians are indeed ready for statehood. Now it is time for Israel and the international community to honour commitments made to us by recognizing the State of Palestine on the remaining 22% of our patrimony and admitting Palestine to the UN as a full member," adds the report.
PLO's NAD reports that the State of Palestine has met all prerequisites to statehood listed in the Montevideo Convention. "The permanent population of our land is the Palestinian people; its right to self-determination has been repeatedly recognized by the UN and by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
"Our territory is recognized as the lands framed by the 1967 border, though it is occupied by Israel. We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries.
"And the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. The State of Palestine also intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter," explains the report. (IDN-InDepthNews/31.07.2011)
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