UN Security Council_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
NEW YORK – Last Friday, UN General Assembly president Joseph Deiss said that if
any permanent Security Council member, such as the United States, used its veto
power, the General Assembly would not be able to vote on UN membership for a
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Deiss’s statement was the latest in the public and
private examination of whether a Palestinian state can be created by vote at the
General Assembly’s annual meeting in September.
US President Barack
Obama, while not stating as much explicitly, has said that a Palestinian state
will not be created by a vote at the United Nations. Many parties have
interpreted the president’s statement as an indication that the US would veto a
Security Council resolution recommending Palestinian membership in the
On National Public Radio, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan
Rice, referencing Obama’s speech, said: “What the president said was very clear,
and that is that you cannot create the reality of a state without the critical
prior step of direct negotiations between the two parties.
issues of borders, of security, of Jerusalem, of refugees, which are so
emotional, can only be resolved in a lasting way. And two states can only be
created through direct negotiations, and there’s no shortcut to
There’s no effective way to bypass it and the United States has
been very clear on that and remains very clear on that.”
When Deiss was
asked at a news conference if there would be any way for the Palestinians to
achieve UN membership through a vote if a Security Council resolution were to be
vetoed, Deiss responded, “No. No.”
Requirements for UN membership are
laid out by the UN Charter. A state must fill out an application stating
adherence to the charter, after which the Security Council is required to make a
recommendation requiring nine votes of yes, with no veto exercised by a
permanent member. After the Security Council recommendation, the General
Assembly can then vote on membership. Two-thirds approval of the General
Assembly is required for a state to be admitted to the UN.
A total of 112
nations have already formally recognized “Palestine,” but the UN membership
process goes along a different procedural track – one that international law
experts, including many Israelis, are seeking to derail.
Last week, a
group of international law experts contacted UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon
about the Palestinian bid for UN recognition via the General Assembly, and said
that UN recognition would be contrary to international law.
asked that the secretary- general appeal to the General Assembly to prevent the
adoption of a Palestinian state resolution, because such a resolution would
contradict agreements signed between Israel and the PLO in the Oslo Accords.