Term Paper: Palestine and United Nations Position and Justification

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Palestine and United Nations

Position and justification -- on November 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly correctly voted to accord Palestine the status of a Non-Member State observer. In the United Nations, the issues of statehood and membership remain quite distinct, and an observer status means that Palestine now has a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly.

This vote, of course, has broader generalizations than simply according Palestine a new status. In the view of many, this vote establishes a global indictment to the legitimacy of the Palestine State.

In contrast, Israel vigorously opposed this resolution and, based on alliances and foreign policy, so did the United States. In fact the preambular paragraphs specifically note that Israel should withdraw from all Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem. This is untenable for the Israeli state, which still holds that Palestine is not a legitimate state and exercises foreign policy based on terrorism.

For at least a decade, Palestine has been attempting to revamp its approach to legitimate statehood and holds that the ethnic and cultural nature of the indigenous peoples is centuries old and not subject to the artificial creation of an Israeli Homeland. Most of the members of the United Nations agree, and have continually cited Israel for violations of U.N. agreements.

In fact, a recent UN fact-finding mission report noted that Israeli settlement building in and around the West Bank represents a "creeping annexation" of legitimate Palestinian land and puts a future Palestinian state, and Mid-East peace, in jeopardy. Further, the U.N. panel's Chair called on Israel to cease all building in the area.

During the U.N. vote, of the 27 EU members, only Czechoslovakia voted against the resolution; many EU nations abstained, but overall, 138 UN members voted to implicitly recognize Palestine as a state, 41 countries abstained and only 9 supported the Israeli position (Israel, the United States, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Panama, Palau, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, and Micronesia).

Part 2- Arguments- Israel's predominant position has always centered around two major arguments: 1) That having a terrorist "presence" in the Palestinian government should disqualify any moves toward legitimate statehood, and 2) Israel is a sovereign nation, and the conflict with Palestine is the result of Arab attempts to destroy Israel. Israel argues that Jewish presence in the area for the past three millennia and the deep religious ties maintained between Judaism and Israel give a valid claim to a Jewish State.

Israel also believes that it has demonstrated flexibility and has participated willingly in the peace process, but is still engaged in warfare from a group that refuses to even legitimize the Israeli State, calling it the "Zionist Entity." Israel believes they are surrounded by enemy states, and must fight in self-defense against Arab nations that wish to destroy Israel. This is based on comments dating back decades, but certainly since 1967 when Egypt's General Nasser told the world that the objective of the war was to destroy Israel.

Israel's reasons for opposing the resolution were based on the historic precedent of the Jewish state within the history of the area. In addition, Israel does not believe that the resolution will advance peace, change the lack of control by the Palestinian Authority over Gaza, or even hold with the cohabitation with Palestine if the Jewish State is recognized and the conflict in all forms is ended. The entire claim, though, is based on a thought-process that is explained as: "As for the rights of Jewish people in this land…. No decision by the United Nations can break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel."

The United States took the stance that only through direct negotiations can Israel and Palestine come to any appropriate agreement regarding statehood. Condoleezza Rice, stating the overall position for the United States, believes that the resolution will not aid in the peace process and, in fact, "places further obstacles to the path for peace" in that simply according Palestine observant status without negotiations with Israel on statehood does nothing by muddy the waters.

The formal procedure for Palestine to become a member state is twofold: 1) the 15-member Security Council must recommend Palestine and, 2) Two-Thirds of members "present and voting" in the General Assembly must also uphold the nomination. Normally, the United States, as a permanent member of the Security Council, would likely veto any full membership… [END OF PREVIEW]

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