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United Nations General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Upgrade the Status of the State of Palestine

United Nations General Assembly Vote On Palestinian Status
United Nations General Assembly Vote On Palestinian Status

Measure must go before the Security Council where it will surely meet opposition from the imperialist states

Geostrategic Analysis

On May 10, the United Nations General Assembly in New York City convened a special meeting to consider a resolution from the State of Palestine and other regional governments.

The resolution provides for the granting of enhanced privileges for the Palestinian representatives at the United Nations including the ability to participate more fully in various committees, yet there is still no right to vote or to stand for various official positions within the organization.

This effort will not replace the settler-colonial state now occupying Palestine within the United Nations. Nonetheless, it does represent the broad support enjoyed by the Palestinian people after decades of forced removals and the denial of fundamental political rights.

143 states within the UNGA voted in favor of the resolution. 9 voted against the resolution while 25 others abstained.

The United States, the largest financial, diplomatic and military backer of Tel Aviv, voted against the resolution right alongside Israel and a handful of other right-wing governments. Argentina, which has a new neo-fascist government, fashions itself as operating in the same manner as the former U.S. President Donald Trump. The Argentine government was the only state in South America which voted against the Palestinians.

Developments since October 7 has once again brought to the fore the centrality of the Palestinian question in the modern era. Even though the propaganda and psychological warfare aimed at defending the Zionist government reached new levels of depravity in the aftermath of the Al-Aqsa flood, Palestine solidarity has grown by leaps and bounds.

All major corporate and government-controlled media outlets in North America, Britain and the Western Europe immediately declared that the offensive launched by Hamas and other resistance movements based in Gaza on October 7 were acts of terrorism. There has been a conscious effort to make it appear as if the source of the problems in the country are the Palestinian resistance organizations. These media agencies work closely with the governments in the U.S and Western Europe to make the false claims that the right-wing Israeli administration is justified in utilizing harsh military actions against the Palestinians.

Despite the demonization of the Palestinians by the imperialists and their news agencies, the May 10 UNGA resolution illustrated the overwhelming support for the creation of an independent sovereign Palestinian state. Since 1948, the State of Israel has been recognized by the UN as the “legitimate” governmental entity operating in the territory.

However, in 1948 the majority of governments operating within the UN framework were colonial regimes which excluded the indigenous peoples from voting and making decisions about the affairs of their countries. Although the UN, formed in 1945, ostensibly was in favor of the self-determination of peoples nationally oppressed by colonialism, the reality which prevailed globally was quite different.

During the first 50 years of its existence, the UN witnessed a profound transformation of its membership. Over 100 colonized nations gained their independence between the late 1940s and the 1990s. Countries in Africa and Asia made up the bulk of the newly emerged post-colonial states. Many of these formerly colonized nations in the course of the struggle for independence appealed to the UN for recognition of their right to form their own governments.

Impact on the Status of the Palestinians within the UN and Beyond

Since 2012, Palestinians from the Authority which operates in the West Bank are designated as a Non-member Observer State. This status provides the ability for President Mahmoud Abbas to address the General Assembly at their annual gatherings held in September.

According to the UN News Agency which reported on the May 10 vote saying:
“Granting Palestinian membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council. At the same time, the Assembly determines that the State of Palestine is qualified for such status and recommends that the Security Council ‘reconsider the matter favorably’. None of the upgrades in status will take effect until the new session of the Assembly opens on 10 September.” (https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596)

This upgrading of the status of the State of Palestine poses a challenge to the U.S. and other imperialist states. The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood after voting against the resolution claimed that the recognition of an independent Palestinian state should only come as a result of negotiations between Palestinians and the State of Israel.

Woods was quoted by the UN News Agency as emphasizing:
“We have been very clear that we support it and seek to advance it meaningfully. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that statehood will come from a process that involves direct negotiations between the parties. There is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and future as a democratic Jewish State. There is no other path that guarantees Palestinians can live in peace and dignity in a State of their own.” (https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596)

Such a rationale by the administration of President Joe Biden for the continuation of the status-quo stems from the historic alliance between the U.S. and the Zionist government. Many proposals to end the current phase of the war in Gaza have been rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ultra-right “unified war cabinet” which sees its continuing existence only through war and the genocidal onslaught against the Palestinians. Therefore, it is absurd for the Biden administration to suggest that the Israeli regime will negotiate an end to its settler-colonial status in Palestine.

The Israeli representative at the UN, Gilad Erden, accused the General Assembly of shredding the charter of the organization. He went on to denounce the resolution accusing the General Assembly of enabling terrorism within its ranks.

The People’s Republic of China UN representative also spoke during the discussions on the resolution. Beijing has made a series of statements in defense of the Palestinians while calling for an immediate ceasefire and a sustainable solution to the crisis.

UN Ambassador for China Fu Cong said of the resolution that:
“It is the common responsibility of the international community to support and advance the process of Palestinian independent Statehood and provide strong support for the implementation of the two-State solution and a lasting peace in the Middle East. China welcomes this historic resolution, which reflects the will of the international community. We believe that the special modalities adopted within the limits permitted by the UN Charter will enable the international community to listen more adequately to the voice of Palestine and help it to talk and negotiate with Israel on a more equal footing.” (https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/05/1149596)

Ambassador Riyad Mansour representing the State of Palestine at the UN welcomed the passage of the resolution. He noted that the more than 35,000 lives lost cannot be replaced although there is the urgency for the preservation of Palestinian life.

Diplomatic Efforts Are Bolstered by Direct Action

Over the last several weeks, college and university campuses in the U.S., Britain and the European Union (EU) have been the scene of encampments and building occupations by students and progressive faculty members in solidarity with Palestine. In the U.S. more than 2,800 people have been arrested in these campus demonstrations.

Obviously, the repression being leveled against the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S. is being coordinated by the White House and the Department of Justice. The stakes for the U.S. and its closest allies are quite high in the efforts to maintain Occupied Palestine as an outpost for imperialist domination and intrigue.

Historically, many other national liberation movements have utilized the UN as a forum for debate, discussion and the passage of resolutions which contribute to the independence from colonial regimes. In South Africa and Namibia, agencies were established to foster the independence struggle including the UN Center Against Apartheid and the UN Council for Namibia.

Nevertheless, the mass, and oftentimes armed struggles, were the critical factors in winning independence against colonialism and imperialism. This pattern is holding true for the Palestinians as well which can be seen through the ongoing resistance operations by Hamas and the other political organizations operating within the Gaza Strip.

The combined efforts of the Palestinian resistance, the solidarity movements operating internationally and the diplomatic initiatives taking place within the UNGA, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), will lead to the eventual realization of the victory of the oppressed against their colonizers. These methods have proven to be effective in light of the defensive posture of imperialism and its allies in the present period.

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