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UN General Assembly gives Palestinians more rights

The Palestinians get more rights in the UN General Assembly. The committee adopted a resolution with a clear majority – and recommends full membership for the Palestinians.

Chralotte Voss

The Palestinians get more rights in the UN General Assembly. The resolution has a high symbolic value, say observers. It shows great global support for the Palestinians.

But Richard Gowan from the International Crisis Group doesn't want to overestimate the vote: “I think it's too early to say that this is a historic moment. I think this is part of a longer process of debate about the position of Palestine at the UN.”

No regular voting rights

With the current decision, the observer state of Palestine – which only exists within the United Nations – can actively participate in the sessions of the General Assembly. Its representatives can submit proposals and amendments directly – without having to ask another country to do so, as was previously the case. They also have the right to sit among the member states arranged alphabetically.

However, they do not have regular voting rights and cannot run for office in UN bodies. This is due to come into force in September. “This resolution will have no immediate impact on the lives of people in Gaza or the West Bank, and I do not believe it will influence Israeli decision-making, for example, on the operation against Rafah,” Gowan said. “This is more of a long-term concern.”

Emotional plea of ​​the Palestinian delegation

But, Gowan continued, the resolution certainly strengthens the credibility of the Palestinian delegation in New York. Its leader, Riyad Mansour, had drawn attention to the situation of civilians in Gaza before the vote.

With emotional words he spoke of mass graves and famine as a result of Israeli attacks and said: “We want peace. Our freedom is not an obstacle to peace. It is the only path that leads to peace. If you do not support our freedom, neither do you support peace.”

Israel reacts indignantly

He made no reference to the Hamas attack on Israel at the beginning of October, which left 1,200 dead and took more than 200 people hostage, many of whom are still in the control of the terrorist organization.

Israel's UN ambassador Gilad Erdan was audibly shocked and angry about the resolution. He said this would open the doors to terrorists and reduce the UN Charter to absurdity. He demonstratively ran a copy of her cover through a small shredder.

Germany abstains

At the instigation of Russia and China, the text explicitly excludes the possibility of setting a precedent. They wanted to avoid that it could serve as a model for other regions with disputed statehood – such as Taiwan.

The two major powers are among the 143 countries that voted yes to the resolution. There were nine no votes – including from the USA, Israel and Hungary. Germany is one of the 25 countries that abstained.

Security Council should Full membership check

Berlin's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Thomas Zahneisen, subsequently stated: “If immediate full membership would end all the suffering we are experiencing, we would wholeheartedly vote yes today. Only direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians will become one lasting peace in the Middle East and a two-state reality. For this reason, we abstained from today's vote.”

This puts Berlin in line with Washington – which blocked a Palestinian application for full membership in the Security Council in mid-April with its veto. But the committee has received a task from the General Assembly: The Security Council should – as the resolution states – favorably review full membership for Palestine. The requirements for this are met. For Richard Gowan, this has the potential for negotiations that could go in circles.

Charlotte Voß, ARD New York, tagesschau, May 10, 2024 10:56 p.m

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