April 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Vetoes Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN

April 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Vetoes Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN

Latest Developments

The United States on April 18 vetoed the Palestinian bid to gain full membership at the United Nations. Twelve members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) supported the measure, two abstained, and the United States opposed it. U.S. Alternative Representative at the UN Robert Wood explained that “premature actions here in New York … will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people.” He cast doubt on whether the “applicant meets the criteria to be considered a state” and said that peace “will only come from direct negotiations between the parties.” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan recently said that “recognizing a Palestinian state at such a time not only gives a prize to terror, but also backs unilateral steps which are contradictory to the agreed upon principle of direct negotiations.”

Expert Analysis

“The administration did the right thing in vetoing a resolution meant to provoke and incite rather than promote peace. What’s appalling, however, is that so many supposed allies voted to reward terrorism and put a democratic ally at further risk. That’s a moral failure on their part and a diplomatic failure for the U.S. mission.”Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Granting the Palestinians statehood recognition at the UN would create paper gains that disincentivize Ramallah from negotiating a two-state solution with Israel. Moreover, the timing would elevate Hamas’s standing by showing that the war it launched on Israel benefited the Palestinians internationally.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Abbas Continues ‘Palestine 194’ Campaign

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas attempted in 2011 to have the UN welcome the “State of Palestine” as its 194th member state. The UNSC failed to reach a consensus on the matter then, and it was never put to a vote. Instead, UNESCO, the UN’s cultural organization, granted full-member status to the “State of Palestine” in 2011, triggering statutory American defunding of that body. The UN General Assembly in 2012 granted the Palestinians non-member observer state status. In 2014, Abbas began joining dozens of international treaties to bolster his statehood bid.

‘State of Palestine’ Is Not a ‘Peace-Loving State’

To begin the process of UN acceptance, a state must submit an application to the secretary-general, who places it before the members of the Security Council. The UNSC typically refers the application to a UNSC committee for review, though the council can still vote on whether the applicant is a “peace-loving state” independent of the committee’s findings. Nine members of the UNSC must support the bid — without any of the five permanent members exercising their veto — and then two-thirds of the members of the UN General Assembly must approve the statehood application. On April 16, the committee reviewing the bid did not render a unanimous decision on the application’s merits.

Consensus failed to emerge in the 2011 bid over whether the “State of Palestine” constituted a “peace-loving state.” Hamas, a terrorist group that has launched multiple wars as part of its commitment to destroy Israel, controls roughly 40 percent of the territory and population that the PA claims for a state. Also raising doubts about Palestinian intentions is the PA’s “pay to slay” policy, whereby the PA incentivizes and rewards Palestinians who murder Israelis. The PA’s lack of control of the territory it claims — Hamas controls Gaza and the PA exerts only limited control over the West Bank — also undermines the Palestinians’ statehood claim.

Australia Shows That Hamas’ Terrorism Pays,” by David May

U.S. and Arab Partners Plan for Palestinian Statehood,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Knesset Agrees: No Unilateral Palestinian Statehood,” FDD Flash Brief

Facing Low Poll Numbers, PA President Pushes for Palestinian Statehood,” FDD Flash Brief


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