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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Some thoughts on Abbas' upcoming UN gimmick

Mahmoud Abbas is gearing up to upgrade the UN's status of "Palestine" from a "non-member entity" to a "non-member state"  later this month.

In reality, there does not seem to be any legal weight from such the change from "non-member entity" to "non-member state." The only difference between the two that I have seen is the possibility that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over cases occurring within a "state", and from what I can tell "only a state that is sovereign in a particular territory can confer jurisdiction on the ICC in that territory." Obviously an "entity" is not a "state" so perhaps the non-binding UNGA resolution will have a slight legal weight in the ICC, if they decide that the PA is sovereign.

By the way, if the ICC does accept jurisdiction on "Palestine," that means that Israel will have the right to file complaints as well against that state - which would include Hamas rocket fire and terror attacks, for example.

According to Al Quds, Abbas' preference is to request recognition from the General Assembly on the 15th, which would be the 24th anniversary of Yasir Arafat's declaration of independence for a phantom state. If that doesn't work out, he wants to do it on November 29th, the anniversary of the UN partition resolution of Palestine.

In other words, Abbas' main goals of becoming accepted as a state are two-fold: the symbolism of the timing, and the perceived increased ability to prosecute Israel in international venues.

But there is another aspect of Abbas' gimmick that he makes very clear, and that the UN has no legal ability to deliver. Abbas has said repeatedly, "After returning from the United Nations and getting a non-member State on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, the way will be open for a return to direct negotiations to achieve security and stability on these grounds."

Abbas is positioning this UN bid as a way to have the UN declare the borders of "Palestine" to include everything behind the Green Line, which was never an international border and indeed which was explicitly defined as being something to be negotiated in UNSC 242.

So the thing to watch for in Abbas' UN bid is the exact language of the resolution. If the resolution includes a mention of borders and Jerusalem, and the UNGA rubber-stamps it as expected, that is more proof that the General Assembly is dismissive of international law when it comes to demonizing Israel.

And indeed, even though Abbas claims that this bid is not meant to delegitimize Israel, this language indicates that he is intending to use the UN to delegitimize Israel's legal claims to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

The language of the resolution will almost certainly make it apparent what a joke the UN has become.