Reviews Palestinian UN Application
September 27, 2011
U.N. Security Council on Monday took up the issue of the Palestinian bid
for full U.N. membership. The meeting was mostly procedural and that the
council is expected to meet again on the subject later this week.
The 15-member Security Council met behind closed doors for less than one
hour. Afterward, Lebanese Ambassador Nawaf Salam, who holds the rotating
presidency this month, spoke to the press.
“I would like to inform you that the Security Council met this afternoon
in consultations and decided to convene in a formal meeting Wednesday at
9:30 [in the morning] to consider the application of the state of
Palestine for membership, to defer, that is, to the standing committee
on admissions," said Salam.
Ambassador Salam explained that there is a standing Security Council
committee on new U.N. members, but that the question of referring the
matter to it requires a formal meeting.
The committee will then review the application and decide whether the
region referred to as Palestine meets the criteria for statehood,
including having a defined territory and a recognized government. Under
the U.N. Charter, a new member must also be “peace-loving.” The
committee will report its conclusions to the council, and the council,
in a resolution, will decide whether to make a recommendation to the
But for the council to recommend that Palestine be accepted for U.N.
membership, nine positive votes and no vetoes from the permanent five
members of the council are required. The United States has said it will
use its veto if necessary, arguing that direct talks between Israel and
the Palestinians is the only way to lasting Mideast peace and a
Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters that several
Security Council members are under pressure from the United States not
to support their application. But he said he is optimistic that the
Palestinians will obtain the necessary votes.
“We trust that we have many friends in the council," said Mansour. "And
the relationship between us and our friends is a solid relationship and
they admire the cause of Palestine and they are supportive of justice
for the Palestinian people. And we hope that when this exercise is
finished and done that the Security Council will stand tall and support
the global consensus on the issue of independence of the other state -
the state of Palestine - so that the two-state solution can become a
reality and Palestine can become a member.”
Mansour added that Palestine has the support of 131 of the 193 member
states in the General Assembly, exceeding what is needed for a
two-thirds majority for admission as a full U.N. member.
Friday, the Middle East Quartet issued a statement calling on the
Palestinians and Israel to resume talks within a month and laying out a
timeline for resolving outstanding issues by the end of next year.
Ambassador Mansour said the Palestinian leadership will meet on
Wednesday to discuss the Quartet's statement. Israel’s foreign minister
was quoted in news reports as saying he had reservations about the
Quartet announcement, but that a renewal of talks without preconditions
Talks between the two sides broke down last September, after Israel
refused to extend a moratorium on settlement construction in the West
Bank. The Palestinians have demanded that Israel stop building
settlements as a precondition to talks.