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Palestine’s new position as a non-member state at the United Nations

January 21, 2013
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BZU Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies sponsored a forum on December 11, 2012 exploring the significance of Palestine’s new position as a non-member state at the United Nations.

In his opening address, the Institute’s Director Abdulkarim Barghouti emphasized the Institute’s desire to engage such issues of national interest and the importance of dialogue, mutual respect for ideas, and knowledge based on information.



Dean of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration Asem Khalil and Professor of Strategic Studies Husam Zomlot spoke at the event. Zomlot said that there are three different schools of thought about the change at the United Nations. He named them the “optimistic school,”  “the overly pessimistic school,” and what he said was the dominant school of thought, the “critical school” that seeks to fully understand the issues and study their strengths and weaknesses.

Zomlot also spoke of the obstacles faced by the Palestinian Authority, which have contributed to its vulnerability since its establishment. Among these have been achieving recognition, the absence of political and national references, and the standing political and economic agreements that have contributed to transforming the Palestinian Authority from the beginnings of the awaited state into that same state’s burden, Zomlot noted. Moreover, Israel's rejection of the idea of a Palestinian state in negotiations and agreements, and maximization of the “self-rule” framework has contributed to declining support for the Palestinian Authority from both the public and involved parties.

Khalil, on the other hand, offered his personal take on the request for statehood at the United Nations. He opposes the bid, he said, while acknowledging that his view is not based on scientific reasoning, but rather the questions raised by many Palestinians.

He maintained that this state doesn’t represent the hopes of the Palestinian Authority. The primary Palestinian goal is to free Palestine of the occupation, he said, and the requested statehood falls short of this goal.

“I don’t believe that going to the UN will help legally in establishing a full-member state,” he said, “rather it’s just a process that has been given more attention that it deserves--a process to distract the masses.”

Khalil expressed his worries that the statehood bid would distract from the critical issues of the fate of the Palestinian refugees, the holding of various citizenships and passports, and the status of the Palestinian resistance.


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