Palestinians Plan Third UN Security Council Statehood Bid

Abbas is threatening to take on Israel at the UN. UN headquarters. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Abbas is threatening to take on Israel at the UN. UN headquarters. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Palestinians are refusing to take no as an answer from the world’s most influential diplomatic body, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promised on Monday to return a bid for statehood to the United Nations Security Council “soon.” The Ma’an News Agency further quoted Abbas in a press conference saying on Monday that “nothing will ever deter” them from pushing for statehood.

That apparently includes a failure to achieve the needed votes in their last Security Council bid. This would mark Abbas’ third Security Council effort, as the first one back in 2011 eventually petered out and didn’t even come to a vote. Of course, Abbas isn’t banking on this one—he has a backup plan as well: the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

Plans to drag Israel before the criminal court, on charges never deemed worthy of the ICC’s attention before, will apparently get underway by April 1. That’s when Abbas expects to be a member of the ICC, according to Ma’an.

However, that would be a departure of the norm for the ICC, which typically only accepts states as members. The US, in a strongly-worded communiqué released by the State Department last week, noted that the Palestinians do not meet that statehood measure by any standard.

“The view of the United States is that the Palestinians have not yet established a state…. or have the legal competences necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Rome Statute [to be members of ICC]. The United States does not believe that the Palestinians are eligible to become a party to the Rome Statute or any of the other treaties at issue, or that the United States is in treaty relations with the Palestinians under any of the treaties that they are seeking to join.”

The American statement further stated that the ICC move is “counterproductive” and “will damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom Palestinians ultimately need to make peace, and will do nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.”

As Abbas prepares to go to the UN once more—concurrent with this bid to the ICC—it should be noted again that the same US opposing the ICC move holds a veto in the Security Council.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 12, 2015)


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