UN General Assembly faces decisive vote on Palestine’s statehood

The resolution is expected to pass by a vast majority.

UN General Assembly hall. Photo courtesy: Patrick Gruban

The United Nations General Assembly is set to vote on Friday on a resolution that would grant new ‘rights and privileges’ to Palestine, and would call on the Security Council to favorably consider its application to become the 194th member of the UN.

On April 18, the United States vetoed a council-supported resolution that would have paved the way for Palestine to join the United Nations as a full member, a long-sought goal of the Palestinians that Israel has sought to block. The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, stated on Thursday that President Joe Biden’s administration opposes the assembly’s resolution.

The UN Charter stipulates that prospective UN members must be ‘peace-loving,’ and the Security Council must recommend their admission to the General Assembly for final approval. Palestine became a non-member observer state in 2012.

Unlike the Security Council, the General Assembly has no veto power, and the resolution is expected to pass by a vast majority, according to three Western diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the discussions.

The draft resolution ‘determines’ that a State of Palestine is eligible for membership, removing the original wording that, in the judgment of the General Assembly, it is a ‘peace-loving’ state. Therefore, it recommends that the Security Council reconsider its application ‘favorably.’

The renewed push for full membership of Palestine in the United Nations comes at a time when the war in Gaza has brought the 75-year conflict between Israel and the Palestinians into the spotlight. The humanitarian crisis facing Palestinians in Gaza and the death of over 34,000 people in the territory have sparked outrage in several countries during multiple council and assembly meetings.

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