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The U.N. Should Admit Palestine As A Full Member State

The BriefGet Up To Speed

On September 23, 2011, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared before the U.N. General Assembly to request full membership for the State of Palestine. America'€™s veto power renders their bid largely symbolic, but there could be leverage gained'€“ like indirect recognition of statehood'€“ in the process. After 20 years of failed talks with Israel, can this plea to the international community be the only path left to a two-state solution, or have the Palestinians set the peace process back by bypassing negotiations?

For The Motion

Full text of Mahmoud Abbas’ speech asking for international support for the State of Palestine’s application for admission as a full member of the United Nations.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
September 23

The American insistence on aborting the Palestinians’ initiative and returning them to a peace process in which their fate remains dependent on Israel is shameful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Henry Siegman

While the UN bid exposed the hypocrisy of the west, it marked the end of two important phases. Going to the UN marked the total failure of the negotiating process that began two decades earlier in Madrid and was followed by the Oslo Accords. The failure at the Security Council exposes the impotence of the international community.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Daoud Kuttab

By seeking to win statehood through UN recognition and assistance, the Palestinian leadership is visibly underscoring its commitment to a two-state solution; by doing that, and by rejecting a strategy based on terror and violence for one based on negotiation and multilateral assistance from the United Nations.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
John B. Judis

In a setback for progressive peace forces, J Street—the liberal Jewish alternative to AIPAC—has decided to oppose United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state this month. The J Street position, reinforced by the New York Times, effectively shuts down any American maneuverability as the UN decision nears.

Friday, September 16, 2011
Tom Hayden
Against The Motion

Any “victory” in the U.N. would come with a heavy price tag.

Monday, October 3, 2011
Richard Haass

The more the Palestinians deal in symbols the less ground they will have left to claim. This should be the lesson of the last four and half decades. So long as the Palestinians refuse to negotiate there will be less to negotiate about.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Martin Peretz

The United Nations is being asked to grant the Palestinians the status of a "state," for at least some purposes. The question arises what kind of a state will it be?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Alan Dershowitz

Halevi, an Israeli author and political commentator, argues that all the Palestinians need to do to get a state is to convince Israelis that this state does not represent a threat.

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Yossi Klein Halevi

U.N. recognition of a Palestinian make-believe state would be no more meaningful than this fantasy "institution-building", and could push Palestinians even further away from real liberation and self-determination.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Ali Abunimah
History of Conflict

A seven-part series that traces the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. NPR revisits significant episodes in its history, giving both Palestinian and Israeli historians an opportunity to explain how they see them differently.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Mike Shuster

A history of the Arab-Israeli conflict with maps.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

A brief guide to what is likely to happen and its significance.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
BBC September 24

CFR’s Backgrounder on the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Robert McMahon and Jonathan Masters
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Matthew Duss and Alyse Prawde

The motivations and potential ramifications of a Palestinian bid for U.N. membership.

Thursday, September 1, 2011
David Makovsky

The Palestinians appear able to muster only eight of the nine votes they need to win approval after France joined Britain in saying it would abstain even though Paris last week backed recognition of a Palestinian state by UNESCO.

Friday, November 11, 2011
Chris McGreal

Resources from 60 years of the U.N.’s work on the issue of Palestine, including over 20,000 searchable documents in the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
1 State or 2

Pursuing a one-state solution could actually lead to a two-state solution. Instead of following the current road map to a Palestinian state, maybe we can get there by detour.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Robert Wright

Khalidi discusses a two-state solution and the Arab Spring.

Monday, December 5, 2011
Chemi Shalev
Economic Growth

Authors of a World Bank report affirm that “if the PA maintains its performance in institution-building and delivery of public services, it is well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011
World Bank

In recent years, the PA has enjoyed economic growth in the West Bank, but this appears to have been short-term growth based on foreign aid, not on private sector activity or investment, undermining the PA’s readiness to establish a Palestinian state.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
C. Jacob

While the economy of the occupied Palestinian territory grew by 7.4 per cent in 2009 and 9.3 per cent in 2010, unemployment remained high, at 30 per cent in both years. Economic growth has not altered the reality of worsening long-term development prospects, caused by the ongoing loss of Palestinian land and natural resources, isolation from global markets, and fragmentation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development July 15
Criticism of the U.S.

Sayigh, of the Carnegie Middle East Center, argues that the hollowness of U.S.-led diplomacy and the more and more deeply entrenched Israeli occupation have forced Palestinian leaders to resort to trying to gain full U.N. membership.

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Yezid Sayigh

The United States should find a way to pay its dues, give extra support to UNESCO's work in the interim, and keep our flag raised ­ whether it’s next to Palestine’s or not.

Monday, December 12, 2011
William Y. Brown

One thing is certain after the administration cutoff of UNESCO funding: We are at least $80,000,000 closer to solving this year’s federal deficit problem.

Monday, November 7, 2011
John R. Bolton

Palestine won its greatest international endorsement yet on Monday, full membership in UNESCO, but the move will cost the agency one-fifth of its funding and some fear will send Mideast peace efforts off a cliff.

Monday, October 31, 2011
USA Today

The Palestinians may try to gain elevated status in the U.N. General Assembly or membership in other U.N.-specialized agencies that, like UNESCO, allow non-U.N. member states to become full members. The U.S. should oppose these attempts and continue to enforce U.S. laws that prohibit contributions to organizations that grant membership to the Palestinians.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Brett Schaefer
Fatah-Hamas Unity Government

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and the leader of the rival Islamic group Hamas met Thursday and the sides agreed to go ahead with elections in the Palestinian territories next year, according to officials, even as they failed to resolve differences over an interim unity government to prepare for the vote.

Thursday, November 24, 2011
Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says he will not serve as the prime minister of a Fatah-Hamas unity government, nor would he run for president, despite his growing popularity.

Friday, December 2, 2011
Avi Issacharoff interview with Salam Fayyad

Mahmoud Abbas’ insistence on choosing Salam Fayyad as the next prime minister and Hamas’ opposition, based on the perception that he was carrying out an Israeli-American agenda.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Khaled Amayreh
Palestine Papers

The Palestine Papers are a cache of more than 1,600 leaked confidential documents encompassing the most recent decade of negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Joint Jerusalem-Ramallah survey questions Israelis, Palestinians on what should happen after UN bid; 83% of Palestinians support recognition for their state, 69% of Israelis thought that Israel should accept the decision and either start negotiations about its implementation (34%) or not allow any change on the ground (35%).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Jerusalem Post

Pew Research Center, September 20, 2011

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Americans express mixed opinions about a possible independent Palestinian state
Related News

No breakthroughs emerged Tuesday from the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in more than a year, the foreign minister of host Jordan said, adding the two sides agreed to keep talking.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Associated Press

Members of the international peacemaking Quartet appeared to make little progress on Wednesday after separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials in a bid to kick-start stalled peace talks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Israel has stepped up its demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied land this year, razing double the number of homes and water wells from 2010, according to a statement endorsed by 20 organizations.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

U.S. Republican presidential candidate differs with official U.S. policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel.

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Natasha Mozgovaya and Reuters

Newt Gingrich’s attempt to deny Palestinians their identity has nothing to do with history. It is simply political pandering. The majority of Israelis and Palestinians understand that they must share the land between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Daoud Kuttab