Palestinians Granted U.N. ‘State’ Status

Palestinians Granted U.N. ‘State’ Status

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday endorsed an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority,

WHAT IS NON-MEMBER STATE STATUS?

The Palestinian Authority is currently considered an “entity,” not a state at the United Nations. If the resolution is approved by the U.N. General Assembly as expected, that status will change to “non-member state,” like the Vatican.

Switzerland also had non-member state status until it joined the United Nations as a full voting member 10 years ago.

Recognition as a non-member state will have a certain symbolic value, giving the Palestinians a higher profile in terms of speaking order during U.N. meetings. But they will still be unable to vote during General Assembly sessions.

The change will also have important legal implications.

The Palestinians will be able to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and some specialized U.N. bodies like the International Atomic Energy Agency.

CAN THE U.N. RECOGNIZE PALESTINE AS A SOVEREIGN STATE?

The United Nations cannot grant countries recognition. That is something that is done on a bilateral basis. However, the granting of non-member state status to the Palestinian Authority does acknowledge that the majority of U.N. member states do recognize Palestine as an independent state.

Traditionally, universal recognition of state sovereignty is accompanied by full membership in the United Nations. That is something the Palestinians sought last year with much fanfare but failed to achieve because the United States used the threat of a veto in the Security Council to block the Palestinian U.N. membership application.
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