Palestinian strategy focused on UN General Assembly and international courts to avoid US veto

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Barak Ravid writes today in Haaretz about Israeli fears over the Palestinian UN bid.

Israeli officials believe the Palestinians will skirt the Security Council and will appeal directly to the General Assembly, in order to avoid a potential American veto…….Israel is concerned that the Palestinians may use the General Assembly resolution in order to launch a legal fight in the International Court at the Hague

Israel officials are correct. In a PNN exclusive on May 24th of this year Nimir Hammad, political advisor for the Palestinian president, affirmed that the Palestinian authority had no intention to go to the United Nations Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state.

Hammad explained that the Palestinian Authority will seek recognition in the General Assembly of the UN because of the nature of the current Israeli position towards the peace process and its refusal to achieve what has been agreed on in the past years.

“Because Israel refused to freeze settlement construction and the Judaization of Jerusalem we decided to take the whole problem in front of the UN General Assembly. If we succeed in achieving a recognition of the Palestinian state there then we will go to the UN at later stages backed by the majority votes in the General Assembly to recognize a Palestine state,” said Hammad.

UN recognition of statehood would provide Palestine access to pursue claims thru both the International Court of Justice and also the International Criminal Court. The ICJ is a civil tribunal that deals primarily with disputes between states. (update: In a recent NYT editorial Abbas wrote “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.” ) The US has no veto in either of the courts.

As Hostage explains:

I think that Palestine will go ahead and apply for full membership in the UN and that the 10th Emergency Special Session will be reconvened if the US interferes in the vote in the Security Council. If Palestine is admitted, it can pursue its own claims in the ICJ and ICC.

If not, the General Assembly can always adopt a resolution(s) (a) designating Palestine as a Permanent Observer State; (b) inviting Palestine to become a party to the ICJ Statute; (c) requesting that the ICC prosecutor act on the Article 12(3) Declaration of the State of Palestine; (d) requesting a follow-up advisory opinion on the legal consequences for states arising from Israel’s continued violation of the erga omnes obligation to remove impediments to the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Palestinian people in the occupied territories – including continued Israeli occupation, colonialism, and allegations of apartheid reported by UN fact finding missions; (e) calling on member states to impose sanctions including boycotts and divestments; and (f) calling on the member states of the ICC to refer the situation in Palestine to the Prosecutor in accordance with article 14 of the Rome Statute, while providing the Court with every assistance necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes.

One or two of those eventualities would be more than adequate to alter Israel’s behavior.

I recommend additional comments from Hostage in this thread.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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