The true meaning of September

A declaration of Palestinian statehood at this point would be illegal, and a General Assembly resolution will be both redundant and meaningless. Nevertheless, the expected UN vote will have far-reaching political and moral consequence, especially if European countries choose to endorse it.

September 21, 2011 17:58
4 minute read.
September cartoon 521

September cartoon 521. (photo credit: Michal Cohen)


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The mounting diplomatic tension over the upcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood is somewhat puzzling, not least of all because this vote already took place twice: On December 15, 1988, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution with an overwhelming majority (104 in favor, 2 against, and 36 abstentions) calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. The General Assembly passed a similar resolution on December 18, 2008. The new resolution expected to pass in the General Assembly will thus be redundant.

It will also be irrelevant since General Assembly resolutions are not binding in international law. They are mere recommendations. The UN Charter does not grant the General Assembly the power to establish states, and the idea that Israel owes its existence to a UN vote is a misconception. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) to divide the British Mandate between a Jewish state and an Arab state. This was a mere recommendation that became moot as soon as it was passed since the Arab League rejected it flatly and since the Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state.


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