Wednesday, 28 September 2011


                             Why Ireland should support
                  UN membership for a Palestinian state

In November 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) declared the establishment of a
Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, that is, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and
Gaza – the Palestinian territories Israel has occupied by force since 1967 [1].

With this declaration, Palestinians accepted the objective of a state on just 22% of their historic
homeland, with Israel continuing to exist in the other 78%.             Since then, the way has been open
for a “two-state solution”.     But, it has been impossible to achieve because Israel has refused to
withdraw from the territory meant for a Palestinian state.

In   response   to   this   declaration   in   1988,   close   to   a   hundred   states   in   the   world   recognised   a
Palestinian state and granted it full diplomatic relations.        Other states, including Ireland, while not
going   as   far   as   recognition,   established   some   form  of   diplomatic   relations   with   it. In   January
2011, Ireland upgraded Palestinian representation in Dublin to that of a Mission.

Palestinians are now seeking the ultimate form of international recognition for their state, that is,
UN membership.         Writing in the New York Times on 17 May 2011, PLO Chairman, Mahmoud
Abbas, made the following appeal:

   “We call on all friendly, peace-loving nations to join us in realizing our national aspirations by
   recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and by supporting its admission to the
   United Nations.” [2]

An application for UN membership must first be recommended by the Security Council, where it
may   be   subject   to   a   US   veto,   and   then   approved   by   the   General   Assembly   by   a   two-thirds
majority of members present and voting (see Article 4 of the UN Charter [3]).

If the US vetoes UN membership in the Security Council, Palestinians are expected to apply for
observer   rights   at   the   UN   as   a   “non-member   state”,   which   requires   a   simple   majority   in   the
General Assembly and cannot be blocked by the US.

As far back as 1974, the General Assembly recognised the PLO as “the representative of the
Palestinian   people”   and   granted   it   observer   rights   at   the   UN. At   present,   Palestine   has   a
permanent mission at the UN with observer rights, but as a liberation movement, not as a state
with internationally recognised territory.

We in Sadaka believe that Ireland should support UN membership for a Palestinian state on the
 1967 borders.

In the UN General Assembly this autumn, Ireland should vote for UN membership for Palestine,
if the opportunity arises, or alternatively for observer rights for Palestine at the UN as a “non-
member state”.                                                                                                     1