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Statement by H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Delivered before the United Nations Security Council on The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question on 11 February 2020

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you to appeal on behalf of 13 million Palestinians for a just peace, nothing more, nothing less. I come before you to reaffirm the Palestinian position of rejection of the US-Israel deal, supported by the positions of the League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and African Union, which all categorically rejected this deal, in addition to the statements by the European Union, Russia, China and Japan and the countries of the world, as well as, and I want to particularly mention them, the statements by the Secretary-General, all reaffirming commitment to the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions.

This broad rejection of the deal stems from the unilateral positions contained in it, and the fact it clearly violates international law, United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative; ignores the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, freedom, independence in their own State; and attempts to grant legitimacy to illegal measures such as the settlements and expropriation and annexation of Palestinian land.

I stress here that this deal or any part of it should not be considered as an international basis or reference for negotiations as it constitutes a US-Israel preemptive deal aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause. The fact alone that it denies Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem warrants its rejection. The fact that it transforms our people and land into fragmented, isolated communities warrants its rejection. The fact that it deprives us of control over our land, borders, water, and airspace warrants its rejection. The fact that it erases the question of Palestine refugees warrants its rejection.

This plan destroys the basis on which the peace process was launched. It disregards the signed agreements based on the vision of two States on 1967 borders. It will not bring security or peace to our region. We therefore cannot accept it and will confront its implementation on the ground.

Here is the conclusion of the plan that was presented to us (shows conceptual map), and the “State” that it gives us, and that looks like Swiss cheese. Who among you would accept such a State?

This deal, ladies and gentlemen, contains diktats, consecrates occupation and annexation by military force, and would lead to an Apartheid system, an anachronistic reality being implemented today in Palestine. It rewards occupation instead of holding it accountable for the crimes it has committed for decades against our people and land.

I want to express our gratitude for the positions expressed by countries, regional and international organizations, parliaments, and Members of the Security Council that have risen along our side to defend the international consensus, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. I also want to thank Israelis – yes Israelis – who expressed rejection of this deal in various ways. 300 Israeli officers have declared rejection of the deal, they say we now fight for justice (shows the petition). We also salute the demonstrations in Tel Aviv against this deal. We also express appreciation to the members of US Congress and Senate as well as US organizations and free voices that have expressed such rejection, and we value their commitment and their support to peace and to international legitimacy (shows letters by 107 Members of Congress and by 12 Senators, including 3 Presidential candidates).

And we salute our Palestinian people, and Arab and Muslim peoples and all peace-loving nations around the world. Palestinians have come out in thousands, hundreds of thousands, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, despite freezing temperatures, to say no to this unjust plan. So it is not as some may say that it is only Abu Mazen and a couple of people who reject the plan. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to say no; tens of thousands around the world also came out to say no. To those who still insist that this deal is fair, we say it is not.

I come before you today to say that peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is still possible and achievable. I have come here to build an international partnership to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, which remains our strategic objective.

This deal does not constitute an international endeavor. It came from one country with the support of another with the aim of imposing it on the world and against international legitimacy as enshrined in hundreds of United Nations resolutions, including tens of Security Council resolutions. This deal is unacceptable.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

I must ask: why the insistence to unilaterally draft this US-Israeli plan, despite the fact that we were in a dialogue with the US administration all of 2017 and discussed all final status issues, including in a long dialogue between President Trump and myself. We spoke at length about the international legitimacy, the vision of two States. He told me he was ready to immediately announce that he adhered to this vision. We spoke of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem, security and all other issues that were not settled in Oslo.

I was pleased with this dialogue with him, only then to be surprised by the announcement of Jerusalem “undivided capital of Israel” and the transfer of the US embassy and calls to the rest of the international community to follow suit; the closure of the PLO office in Washington; the cutting of assistance to us, $840 million worth of aid; the termination of funding to UNRWA. I don’t know who gave such dreadful advice. The President Trump I know is not like that, and I don’t know where these actions came from.

Let me recall that the Madrid Peace Conference, the Oslo Accords, the Washington negotiations, as well as the Annapolis Conference for peace, were all on the basis of the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions and called for negotiations on all final status issues, including Jerusalem, which was an issue for negotiation not imposition or preemption, and not a grant to be given to Israel. No, this is an occupied territory. Who has the right to give it away? This Council is the highest authority in the world and we accept your rulings and decisions.

All throughout, ladies and gentlemen, we remained committed to implementation of all agreements concluded with Israel, and acted responsibly, and that is why we achieved the respect of the world. 140 countries have recognized the State of Palestine and we have become an integral part of the international system as an observer State. We have not been able to become a Member State because of the prospect of a US veto. We joined over 120 Conventions, agencies and organizations, and we, the observer State, chaired the Group of 77 and China for the year 2019. We do exist.

And we continue building the national institutions of our State based on the rule of law and the international standards for a modern, democratic State, as well as on transparency and accountability, including fighting against corruption. Indeed, our country is at the forefront of the efforts to fight corruption, and this young State still under occupation is corruption free and those who say otherwise can come and see for themselves. I invite the Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to Palestine on this and all matters.

We have worked to empower women and youth and spread the culture of peace among our people, all our people. We tell them we reject war and terror, violence and terror worldwide, and we have concluded protocols with 83 countries first and foremost with the United States, as well as Canada, Russia, Japan, and others, to fight terrorism. We are not terrorists. And, regardless of what we endure, we will remain committed to the fight against terrorism.

We held elections three times, as we believe in democracy, but Israel refuses to let us organize elections. Why? Because they prevent us from organizing elections in Jerusalem, despite the fact that we held elections there in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Now as Jerusalem is being considered the “undivided capital of Israel” we are being prevented from holding elections there. That is not acceptable. East Jerusalem is ours and West Jerusalem is theirs, and both countries can cooperate together.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

They say we missed the opportunities for peace. This is not true. Abba Eban happened to say one day that “Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Where did he come up with this, I do not know. And Kushner is repeating it. What is the opportunity that we have missed? Don’t use such silly slogans.

We have accepted all United Nations resolutions, starting with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, all the way to 2334, adopted three years ago by your Council. We became an active actor on the international arena. In 1993, we concluded the interim Oslo Accords and remained committed to all its provisions and to the exchange of letters between us and Israel, which provide for mutual recognition. In Oslo we recognized the right of Israel to exist, as stated by Yasser Arafat, and Rabin recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. What opportunities did we miss?

We were receptive to the efforts of successive US administrations and engaged with them, as well as with international initiatives and all invitations for dialogue and negotiations. Yet, at no point in these efforts was the bare minimum of justice for our people based on international law and United Nations resolutions ever presented. And, now, this current government representing the occupying Power is actively undermining all international efforts.

We have dealt with every opportunity seriously as peace is in the interest of our people and of the peoples of the world.

Several countries invited us, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, to meet with Netanyahu on their soil and Netanyahu never honored such an invitation. I went three times to Moscow and Netanyahu never came. So who does not want peace?

So tell me what opportunities have we missed?

At the same time, Israeli governments and Israeli settlers continue destroying any prospect for peace, accelerating their colonial settlement activities all over the occupied West Bank, constructing settlements unchecked, alter the character of occupied Jerusalem, pursuing their aggression against Muslim and Christian holy sites, expropriating land, and continuing their war and blockade against our people in the Gaza Strip. They are unfortunately backed by the might of the United States, which has undertaken a number of decisions in breach of international law that have been rejected by the rest of the world and also by US Congress members and many organizations working for peace, including American Jewish organizations. 

The US Congress, in its decision number 326, opposed the policy announced by US Secretary of State Pompeo and of the US President on annexation and settlement activities and reaffirmed the two-State solution and the right of our people to self-determination. These are not solely our positions, but the positions of the US Congress.

I must also stress that we refuse to forgo political solutions for economic assistance, that invention they pursued in Bahrain, Warsaw, and elsewhere, saying they will give us 50 billion dollars, but where is the political solution? We refuse that. A political solution comes first. And if it is followed by economic assistance that is fine, but economic assistance is not the primary issue. We thank all countries that support us and without conditions to build our Palestinian institutions that will carry us towards our independent State with God’s will.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

In these difficult times and before it is too late, I want to address President Trump to tell him the US plan cannot achieve peace and security by erasing international legitimacy. Who can erase international legitimacy? In this highest body, who can ignore this? The plan presented by President Trump does that and denies the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, and removes East Jerusalem from under Palestinian sovereignty, and will not lead to the implementation of the vision of two independent sovereign States, Israel and Palestine.

I therefore appeal to President Trump to show fairness and justice, to support the implementation of United Nations resolutions, to preserve the chance of achieving genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis. There can be no imposed peace.

Let us achieve peace together, and we managed to do so without intervention in Oslo and without knowledge of any State, and whoever says I knew, I challenge them. We reached an interim agreement and were ready to honor it for five years until we concluded a final peace agreement, but they assassinated Rabin. Why did they assassinate Rabin? May he rest in peace.

From this chamber, I call on the Quartet, composed of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as the members of your august Council, to convene an international peace conference, with a view to implementing United Nations resolutions, first and foremost resolution 2334, as well as the vision of two States and the Arab Peace Initiative, that we insist on as part and parcel of the international legitimacy, and of resolution 1515, through the establishment of an international mechanism with the Quartet and any other countries to oversee negotiations between the parties. But in all honesty, we will not accept the United States as sole broker as we have tried this before.  

I call on the international community in its entirety to pressure Israel, the occupying Power, to end its occupation practices and policies that aim to annex Palestinian land. What right do you have to annex our land? You will destroy the chances of peace.

In this historic moment, I extend my hand for peace once again before it is too late, and I hope to find a real partner for peace in Israel, any person who believes in peace, so we can achieve genuine peace that will bear fruit for the present and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis and for the countries and people of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our Palestinian people can no longer withstand the Israeli occupation of our country, and the situation as a whole is explosive. To prevent that, we need to renew hope for our people. Do not deny hope to our people and the peoples of the region to live in freedom, independence and peace, and the hope that the free world will rise for its rights. Do not kill that hope for our people.

I want to show you a map of Palestine and the changes that have occurred on the ground since 1917, 1937, 1947, 1948 until 2020. What I see breaks my heart. Is this what we deserve? Is this what the Palestinian people deserve? Why were we there and now find ourselves in these islands? (shows maps)

On this occasion, I address the Israeli people to tell them that the pursuit of occupation, settlements, military control over another nation will not bring security or peace. We only have one choice, to be partners and neighbors, each in our independent sovereign State. Let us uphold together this just choice before it is too late.

I reiterate that our conflict is not with the followers of the Jewish faith. We are not against Jews. We Muslims are not against Jews. The Muslim that says I am against the Jews is an infidel. If one says he is against Jews or the Torah, he is an infidel, not a Muslim. We are not against Jews; we are against whoever oppresses us regardless of their religion. And, our struggle is not against Jews, but against those who occupy our land. We will therefore continue to pursue our struggle, during which we have endured great sacrifices with thousands of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded, in order to end this occupation and achieve our independent State. We reaffirm that our people will not kneel. We want our rights, and we salute all those who help us achieve them. We will not surrender to this occupation, however long it takes and no matter what sacrifices we have to endure.

And I conclude by saying once again: I am ready to resume negotiations, as I have always been, if there is an Israeli partner ready to negotiate, under the auspices of the Quartet, and based on the international terms of reference, and I am serious in what I say. I am ready to remain here in the house of international legitimacy to start these negotiations immediately.

Let me also state once again that we will not resort to violence or terrorism, despite the aggression against us. We are believers in peace and in fighting violence, and we are ready to cooperate with any country to fight terrorism. We are against terrorism and violence, by whomever, and we will resort to peaceful popular resistance.

Look at what is happening now in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thousands have taken to the streets to say no to the deal. It is not my position alone, the entire Palestinian people say no to the deal.

Finally, I tell the world: be careful not to kill the hope of the Palestinian people. I came here to preserve hope, don’t take that hope away from us.

I thank you, Mr. President.

12 February 2019 – Incitement and provocation by the occupying Power

Excellency,

I write to you in follow-up to our numerous letters alerting the international community to the illegal policies and constant incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. In the recent period, such illegal practices and reckless inflammatory rhetoric and provocations appear to have been deliberately escalated by the occupying Power, exacerbating the insecurity of the Palestinian civilian population, who are being targeted by more and more violence by Israeli military and settler forces, risking innocent lives and further destabilization of the fragile situation on the ground.

We condemn the Israeli occupying forces’ indiscriminate, lethal force against Palestinian civilians, including the latest murders, perpetrated on Friday, 7 February, of two Palestinian children, Hasan Eyad Shalbi, age 13, and Hamza Mohammed Rashdi Ishteiwi, age 17. Both were shot to death with live ammunition, one to the chest and one to the neck, during the Great March of Return protests in the besieged Gaza Strip, and dozens people were injured, adding to the thousands of casualties since these protest began on 30 March 2018.  At the same time, Israeli occupying forces and extremist settlers continue their violent rampages against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, terrorizing the population and causing harm to civilians and destruction of their properties. [Read more…]

12 November 2014 – Continued Israeli Provocations

Excellency,

Once again, we must draw the international community’s attention to the alarming situation resulting from ongoing illegal Israeli actions and provocations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which continue to exacerbate the already-dangerous situation. These illegal Israeli actions are clearly intended to entrench the occupation, repress the Palestinian people into submission to this occupation, and to further undermine the Palestinian leadership, including by the continuation of a raging campaign of incitement directed at President Mahmoud Abbas by Israeli Ministers.  All together, these continued violations will only further destabilize the situation, with far-reaching negative consequences for both peoples and for the region.

We reiterate our unequivocal condemnation and rejection of Israel’s escalation of aggressions in Occupied East Jerusalem, in particular in and around Al-Aqsa Compound, which continue to be subjected to incursions and provocations by Israeli extremists, including settlers and government officials. The flagrant disrespect for this Holy Site and for Palestinian worshippers, marked by nearly daily incursions into the Compound as well as the denial of entry of Palestinian worshippers by Israeli occupying forces, along with repeated declarations amounting to blatant incitement must be taken seriously by the international community as they are stoking religious sensitivities and aggravating tensions, with the potential to spiral out of control. [Read more…]

National Committee for the Commemoration of the Year of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Closing Statement

National Committee for the Commemoration of the Year of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People

United for a Free Palestine

9 April 2014, Ramallah – Palestine

The National Committee for the commemoration of the year of international solidarity with the Palestinian people launched its program of activities this Wednesday in Ramallah during a meeting attended by representatives of the various sectors of society. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, at the General Debate of the Sixty-eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly – New York, 26 September 2013

ENGLISH

ARABIC – ORIGINAL – عربي

Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić on his outstandingly successful presidency of the previous session of the General Assembly, and I congratulate Mr. John Ashe upon his assumption of this session’s Presidency and wish him all success.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to address you today, and for the first time in the name of the State of Palestine, before the United Nations General Assembly, after your historic decision last 29 November to raise Palestine’s status to that of an observer State.  As representatives of your Governments and of your peoples, you have championed justice, right, and peace, and thereby affirmed your refusal of occupation, and stood for principles and ethics and on the side of peoples yearning for freedom. For this, I present you again today with my deepest thanks and gratitude, in the name of Palestine and of its people.

The Palestinian people celebrated this resolution, because they rightly felt that they did not stand alone in the world, but that the world stands with them, and because they realized that the result of your overwhelming vote meant that justice is still possible and that there still is room for hope. [Read more…]

Tenth Emergency Special Session

Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly was convened for the first time in April 1997, following a request from Qatar, Chair of the Arab Group.

The session followed a series of Security Council and General Assembly meetings regarding the Israeli decision to build “Har Homa”, a large illegal Israeli settlement, in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of Occupied East Jerusalem.

The tenth Emergency Special Session was last resumed on 15 and 16 January 2009 to consider the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, at the request of the President of the General Assembly.

Below are relevant documents for each time the tenth Emergency Special Session was convened. [Read more…]

Status of Palestine

Updated 1 August 2013

Background

Palestine’s status in the United Nations has evolved considerably over last half-century.  Beginning as an Observer Mission of a national liberation organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization, now as an Observer State.  Palestine remains committed to obtaining full United Nations membership – taking its natural place in the international community, among the community of nations.

The Charter of the United Nations is silent on the issue of observer status. The issue rests purely on practice and has been set on a firm legal basis through discussions, decisions and practice of the General Assembly. There is more than one type of observer, which includes non-member States; national liberation movements; intergovernmental organizations and other entities as well.

Rights and privileges of observers vary and precedents refer to a broad spectrum of “activities” or “power”. Variations stem from the different process of acquisition of observer status, the language of the relevant General Assembly resolution granting the observer status and any additional resolution(s) granting more rights and privileges to a particular observer, as well as the established practice in this regard, including the interpretation by the Secretariat of those resolutions.

These variations manifest themselves through differences in access to U.N. principal organs, U.N. subsidiary organs and U.N. conferences; differences in access to the areas and facilities provided for participation in the U.N. system; differences in participation in substantive issues and participation in procedural issues; and finally differences on issues related to immunities and privileges.

The U.N. recognized national liberation movements and granted observer status to them. Such recognition originates from the policy of decolonization, particularly in Africa. The significance of the participation of national liberation movements has not only been in areas concerning decolonization and the right to self-determination but also in areas of economic and social concerns. They have been perceived as authoritative governments that are responsible for the social and economic well-being of their people.

Since 1948, seventeen non-member States maintained Permanent Observer Missions to the U.N. Switzerland was the first and the same process that was followed in the case of other non-member States. At present, only two non-member States maintain observer missions at U.N. headquarters, namely the State of Palestine and the Holy See. All other observer States eventually became full Members of the United Nations.

Palestine Liberation Organization

In May 1964, the Palestine National Council sent formal notification to the U.N. Secretary-General regarding the establishment of the PLO and, in October 1965, the Special Political Committee, at the request of some Arab states, decided that a PLO delegation be allowed to attend meetings of the Committee and present a statement, without implying recognition. The PLO participated in the discussions of the Committee under the agenda item of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in much the same way until 1973.

On 10 December 1969, the General Assembly adopted resolution 2535 B (XXIV), which reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine. On 8 December 1970, the General Assembly adopted resolution 2672 C (XXV), which recognized that the people of Palestine are entitled to equal rights and self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the U.N.

On 12 December 1973, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3102 (XXVIII), which, inter alia, urged that national liberation movements be invited to participate as observers in the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts. In May 1974, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted resolution 1835 (LVI) and 1840 (LVI), inviting representatives of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States to participate without the right to vote in the World Population Conference and the World Food Conference, respectively. These conferences invited the PLO to participate and, by late 1974, the PLO had already participated as an observer in several other international conferences, such as the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea.

On 14 October 1974, the General Assembly, through resolution 3210 (XXIX) recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and invited it to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly on the Question of Palestine in plenary meetings. Accordingly, Yasser Arafat addressed the Assembly on 13 November 1974. With the exception of the ceremonial occasion when Pope Paul VI addressed the Assembly, he was the first representative of an entity other than a member state to address the Assembly.

"Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." 13 November 1974 - New York

“Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.” 13 November 1974 – New York

Listen to Yasser Arafat’s Statement (Arabic)

Part 1  –  Part 2

On 22 November 1974, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3237 (XXIX) granting observer status to the PLO (mentioned above). The PLO has established a permanent observer mission since 1974 at U.N. headquarters in New York and another one in Geneva.

On 8 May 1975, ECOSOC adopted resolution 1949 (LVIII), amending rule 73 of its rules of procedure to provide for the participation of national liberation movements as observers in the deliberations of the Council. In April 1977, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) adopted resolution 36 (IV), recommending to ECOSOC the amendment of ESCWA’s terms of reference so that the PLO could be included in its membership. In July 1977, ECOSOC adopted the recommendation in resolution 2089 (LEXIS) and the PLO became a full member of ESCWA.

On 4 December 1975, at its 1859 th meeting, the Security Council considered a request by a Member State (Egypt) for the participation of the PLO in the debate of the Council. The request was not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council. The Security Council decided on that day by a vote that an invitation should be extended to the representative of the PLO to participate in the debate and that the invitation would confer upon it the “same rights of participation as are conferred when a Member State is invited to participate under rule 37.” That invitation, upon vote by the Council, was repeated henceforth on numerous occasions.

On 23 September 1982, in a letter to a private counselor-at-law, the Office of Legal Affairs stated “as indicated above, a review of the procedural practice of the United Nations shows that the Palestine Liberation Organization now has a unique status in the United Nations with extensive and continuing rights of participation. Even outside the United Nations framework, the overwhelming majority of states formally recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and have established direct links with it on a bilateral basis, sometimes even granting it full diplomatic status”. On 2 April 1986, the Asian Group of the U.N. decided to accept the PLO as a full member.

In resolution 43/160A of 9 December 1988, adopted under the agenda item entitled “Observer status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States”, the Assembly decided that the Palestine Liberation Organization was entitled to have its communications issued and circulated as official documents of the United Nations. The same right was also granted to SWAPO in the same resolution. To date, no other observer enjoys that right.

On 2 March 1988, the General Assembly, in a resumed session, adopted resolution 42/229 A & B, which reaffirmed that the Permanent Observer Mission of the PLO to the UN is covered by the United Nations Headquarters Agreement and which called upon the U.S. to abide by this agreement. In resolution B, the Assembly decided to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion. Several other resolutions were adopted later in this regard until the U.S. ceased its attempts to close down the PLO Mission to the U.N.

Palestine

That same year, in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988, the General Assembly acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 and decided, inter alia , that the designation “Palestine” should be used in place of the designation “Palestine Liberation Organization” in the United Nations system.

On 9 February 1989, at its 2845 th meeting, the Security Council considered a request made directly by the Observer Mission of Palestine for the participation of the Observer of Palestine in the debate of the Council. Again, the request was not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 and the Security Council decided by a vote to invite the Observer of Palestine to participate ” with the same rights of participation of rule 37 .” That invitation, upon vote by the Council, was repeated henceforth on numerous occasions.

On 28 February 1994, at its 3340 th meeting, the same request was made by the Observer Mission of Palestine and, after negotiations aimed at accepting the request without a vote, the Council decided to invite the Observer of Palestine to participate in the current debate of the Council “in accordance with the rules of procedure and the previous practice in this regard.” That invitation was also repeated on numerous occasions.

On 9 November 1994, the General Assembly adopted without a vote resolution 49/12, approving the Report of the Preparatory Committee for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations. In that report, the Committee authorized its Chairman to send a letter to the Permanent Observer of Palestine, confirming that the arrangements mentioned in General Assembly resolution 48/215B of 1994 for the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the U.N., in addition to applying to all member and observer states, shall also apply to Palestine, in its capacity as observer. Further, the Assembly adopted resolution 49/12B of 30 May 1995, which included Palestine, in its capacity as observer, along with member and observer states in the organizing process of the list of speakers for the Commemorative Meeting.

On 7 July 1998, the General Assembly overwhelming adopted resolution 52/250 entitled: Participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations . The resolution conferred upon Palestine additional rights and privileges of participation that had previously been exclusive to Member States. These include the right to participate in the general debate held at the start of each session of the General Assembly, the right to cosponsor resolutions and the right to raise points of order on Palestinian and Middle East issues. The resolution also changes the seating of Palestine to a location directly after non-Member States, with the allocation of six seats for delegates (observers get two seats). The resolution also makes several important improvements related to participation in the debate under different agenda items. In short, the resolution upgraded Palestine’s representation at the UN to a unique and unprecedented level, somewhere in between the other observers, on the one hand, and Member States on the other.

On 28 October 1998, Mr. Yasser Arafat, addressed the 53 rd General Assembly plenary under agenda item: General Debate. This marked the first time in the history of the UN that an entity that is not a member state participated under that item. Palestine’s participation was without restrictions with regard to speaking order in the debate. During the 53 rd Session of the General Assembly, Palestine also co-sponsored 21 resolutions and one decision. Both of these were direct results of resolution 52/250.

In November 1998, the U.N. secretariat made some changes regarding Palestine in the book of Permanent Missions to the United Nations (“the Blue Book”). The location of the category under which Palestine is listed was moved and placed immediately after non-member states and before the inter-governmental organizations. The title of Palestine’s category was also changed to “Entities Having Received a Standing Invitation to Participate as Observers in the Sessions and the Work of the General Assembly and Maintaining Permanent Observer Missions at Headquarters ” instead of “Organizations Having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly . . .” Earlier, the word ” Office ” was used instead of ” Mission .” Another such change, at the request of the Mission, was the use of the title ” Ambassador ” in conjunction with “Permanent Observer of Palestine “.

State of Palestine

On 23 September 2011, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as President, submitted on behalf of the State of Palestine, an application for United Nations Membership to Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, contained in S/2011/592.  In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Secretary-General then forwarded the application to the President of the Security Council (Lebanon). After numerous deliberations of the standing Committee on the Admission of New Members of the Security Council, on 11 November 2011, the Council adopted its report, S/2011/705, in which many Council members expressed support for, as well as two Members which did not support Palestine’s application, including one Permanent Member, the United States; therefore the Committee was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council. Palestine’s application remains before the Security Council awaiting a positive recommendation.

President Abbas holds Palestine's Application for UN Membership during his Statement during the 66th General Debate

President Abbas holds Palestine’s Application for UN Membership during his Statement during the 66th General Debate

On 31 October 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted Palestine as its 195th Member State with 107 in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions. Palestine becoming a State member of a U.N. specialized agency now allowed Palestine to be considered under the “Vienna Formula”, Member States of the United Nations or States members of the specialized agencies, which is used to determine which States can be invited to participate in various Diplomatic Conferences and Treaties.

On 23 November 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, Dr. Riad Malki, signed and deposited an instrument of ratification for the UNESCO Constitution at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom. The UK functions as treaty depository for the UNESCO Constitution.

Raising of the Flag of the State of Palestine at UNESCO

13 December 2011

 

On 29 November 2012, the General Assembly adopted resolution 67/19 entitled “Status of Palestine in the United Nations” with 138 votes in favor, 9 against and 41 abstentions. The resolution accorded to Palestine non-Member observer State status in the United Nations, marking the first time that the General Assembly considered Palestine to be a State.  The rights and privileges of Palestine in the work of the United Nations remained the same as they were enhanced by resolution 52/250, which gave Palestine maximum rights without becoming a Member of the United Nations.

Watch the proceedings which granted Palestine non-Member observer State status:

On 12 December 2012, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine sent a letter to the U.N. Secretariat that recalled resolution 67/19 and requested that in all U.N. documentation including “the Blue Book” Palestine’s designation be changed to “State of Palestine” and that H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas is the President of the State of Palestine.  On 17 December 2012, the Secretariat replied to the Mission and confirmed all the changes and now lists Palestine under category II, after the Holy See, as a “Non-member State having received a standing invitation to participate as observer in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent observer mission at Headquarters.”

In March 2013, the Secretary-General of the United Nations issued his report, A/67/738, pursuant to resolution 67/19, which reconfirmed the Status of Palestine in the United Nations and the State of Palestine’s fulfillment of the “all States” and “Vienna” formulas allowing the State of Palestine to participate in many Diplomatic Conferences and Treaties which are open to States other than the Members of the United Nations.

Statement by President Abbas during the 66th General Debate on 23 September 2011

English

English

Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,

Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

At the outset, I extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I extend today my sincere congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and prosperity.

I also congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the helm of the United Nations.  This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United Nations.

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