Palestine: Fact or fiction?

UNESCO ignored its constitution in admitting Palestine as a member state.

The Palestinian flag is raised at UNESCO in Paris 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
The Palestinian flag is raised at UNESCO in Paris 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
Recognition of the state of Palestine was ostensibly given the international imprimatur in October 2011, when 107 countries voted to admit Palestine as the 195th member state of UNESCO.
Palestine’s admission to UNESCO rested upon Article II of UNESCO’s constitution which states:
Subject to the conditions of the agreement between this organization and the United Nations organization, approved pursuant to Article X of this constitution, states not members of the United Nations organization may be admitted to membership of the organization, upon recommendation of the executive board, by a two-thirds majority vote of the General Conference.
The organization's executive board presumably would have vetted the application to make sure Palestine qualified as a state -- otherwise the application would have had to be ruled out of order.
The article above indeed makes clear that there had to be a recommendation by the Executive Board.
To try and find out how the executive board came to its decision, I asked UNESCO two questions and received the following answers in December 2011.
QUESTION: “Did the Secretariat or any other division within UNESCO prepare a report on the status of Palestine to qualify as a “state” to be admitted to membership of UNESCO? If so could I please be sent a copy? 
ANSWER: There was no document submitted to the General Conference by the Secretariat relating to the status of Palestine.
QUESTION: On what basis can Palestine qualify to be admitted as a member State of UNESCO when it does not possess the necessary qualifications to be recognized as a State in customary international law as codified in Article I of the Montevideo Convention 1933?  
ANSWER: This question would need to be addressed to the UNESCO member states that voted in favor of admission.
Not satisfied with these answers - I wrote another letter on December 2, 2011 drawing UNESCO’s attention to the following:
Article II of the constitution requires "a recommendation of the executive board" as a  necessary pre-condition for the admission of any states to UNESCO that are not members of the United Nations.
QUESTION: Can you supply a copy of the recommendation of the executive board to the General Conference to admit Palestine to membership of UNESCO and any reports that formed part of that recommendation or were considered by the executive board prior to making that recommendation?
An impenetrable wall of silence has been erected by UNESCO ever since.
Now those of you who have read my many articles over the past 5 months know that I consider Palestine’s admission to UNESCO to be unconstitutional, being in breach of Article II above.
I have unsuccessfully urged UNESCO to seek an advisory ruling from the International Court on the meaning of Article II and on other clauses in the constitution that appear to be inconsistent with it.
UNESCO can approach the Court under Article II of the Constitution which states:
“Any question or dispute concerning the interpretation of this constitution shall be referred for determination to the International Court of Justice or to an arbitral tribunal, as the General Conference may determine under its rules of procedure”
Not one of the 194 UNESCO member states seems remotely interested in pursuing this option.
No member State has objected to the flag of Palestine flying above UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Under Article II, each member state is entitled to appoint a permanent delegate to UNESCO.
On January 23, 2012, Elias Wadih Sanbar was appointed permanent delegate of the member state of Palestine, without demur or objection from any of the other member states.
Given the apparent acceptance of Palestine as a state on an equal par with all the other 194 member states of UNESCO - my questions to all of them are:
Why is the world not now celebrating the realization of a two-state solution and an end to the long road to Palestinian statehood begun in 1993 with the Oslo Accords?
When will the state of Palestine start opening its doors to the Palestinian Arabs that have been left to fester in refugee camps in neighboring Arab states for the last 64 years?
When will United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees be disbanded - now that such a state apparently exists?
Why is the UN Security Council planning an open debate this month on whether the Quartet has been able to achieve sufficient impetus to break the stalemate in the Israel and Palestine peace process?                                  Why waste the Security Council’s time with another debate on efforts to break the stalemate in the Middle East -- when the stalemate was broken in October 2011?
Isn’t it time the Quartet closed down and announced the cancellation of its next meeting? Does it hold any purpose following international recognition of the state of Palestine by UNESCO?
Not one of the 195 member states of UNESCO (including Palestine itself) can pinpoint Palestine’s location on a map or define its boundaries. This should serve as testimony to the mess that the world has landed itself in because UNESCO chose to ignore international law and its own constitution.
Tibetans, Kurds, Basques, Corsicans and other groups with long standing demands for self determination should use the Palestine decision as a precedent and apply to join UNESCO. If the organization can miraculously turn fiction into fact by recognizing Palestine as a state, it can make the aspirations of these other long suffering people become a similar reality.
The writer is an Australian lawyer and a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network.