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Statehood for Palestinians?

world Updated: Nov 30, 2012 13:56 IST
Edith M Lederer
Edith M Lederer
Hindustan Times
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The Palestinians predicted a historic UN vote recognising their statehood this week, praising important new support from France on Tuesday and likely backing from other European nations seen as critical to enhancing their international standing.

The United States and Israel strongly oppose the resolution, and there are fears it could torpedo Palestinian hopes of quickly resuming negotiations with Israel to end their decades-old conflict.

Israeli officials have already said they will not return to negotiations after the vote and believe it instead undermines hopes for a peace deal.

India is a co-sponsor of the statehood resolution.

The General Assembly vote to raise the Palestinians’ status from a UN observer to a nonmember observer state is scheduled for Thursday — the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” — just a week after a ceasefire ended eight days of punishing Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and intense rocketing of the Jewish state by Gaza’s Hamas rulers that reached Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly and the resolution is virtually certain of approval. The 193-member world body is dominated by countries sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and the resolution only requires a majority vote for approval.

The UN recognition of their statehood would elevate the Palestinians to the same status as the Vatican, another nonmember observer state.

However, a country’s vote to raise the Palestinian status at the UN does not imply its individual recognition of a Palestinian state, something that must be done bilaterally.

To date, 132 countries — over two-thirds of the UN member states — have recognised the state of Palestine.