Palestinian UN Bid

Elizabeth Field

On September 20, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied to the United Nations Security Council for official Palestinian Statehood. And on September 28, the UN Security Council sent the bid to a special committee, established solely for this application’s consideration, which will assess and review it. This development in the Middle East could intensify negotiations and peace talks amongst Palestine and Israel.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), representative of the people of Palestine, has had observer status at the UN since 1974; however, they have not had voting rights. The status as a state would give Israel and Palestine equal power, and Palestine some leverage in their ongoing negotiations.

Approximately six out of the 15 UN Security Council members have stated on record that they would support the Palestinian bid. Nine affirmative votes without any vetoes are required for the application to progress. United States officials have vowed to use the power of veto if the bid goes up for voting. This should not be surprising given the U.S’s close relationship with Palestinian rival, Israel. President Barack Obama says that the only way for Palestinian statehood to become a reality is to return to negotiations with Israel.

Dr. Bassem Ezbidi, a political scientist, believes that the U.S. is unlikely to use the veto as they promised. He stated, “The U.S. will not use the veto unless they really have to do that. The U.S. will first try to exert some pressure on other members. A U.S. veto will have disastrous consequences in the region. The Middle East is boiling, and the last thing the U.S. wants is to have another wave of hatred aimed at the Americans.”

Last week, the Middle East Quartet, made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN, issued a call for the Palestinians to return to peace talks with Israel. These talks ended last September after Israel allowed a moratorium on settlement construction to expire.

Ambassadors of both Israel and Palestine said that their governments would consider the possibility of negotiations and respond to the Quartet stance—which calls for negotiations to begin within one month and lays out a timeline to resolve outstanding issues for the ne