UN First Step for Palestinian Statehood

The Palestinian application to join the United Nations was forwarded to the committee by the U.N. Security Council this week.

The standing committee on the admission of new members to the world body is comprised of all 15 council members.

"Unless the council decides otherwise, an application for membership shall be referred by the president of the council to the committee on admission of new members accordingly. Unless I hear a proposal to the contrary, I shall refer the application of Palestine to the committee on the admission of new members for examination and report on its outcomes. As I hear no objection, it is so decided," the resident of the Security Council and Lebanon's U.N. ambassador, Nawaf Salam, told the council.

Western diplomats claim the Palestinian UN bid may be rendered futile because of US opposition. However, Riyad Mansour, chief Palestinian delegate to the United Nations, welcomed the council's initiative to move closer to a possible U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood.

"We are grateful to the president of the Security Council for moving decisively and clearly on our application and we are grateful for the members of the Security Council for approving unanimously to send the application to the appropriate committee and to begin the process of the consideration of our application. As you see, the process is moving forward step by step, and we hope that the Security Council will shoulder its responsibility and approve our application and to send a recommendation to the General Assembly for the admission of Palestine to the United Nations,” he told reporters.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, delivered the Palestinian application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sept. 22 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

All the members of the Security Council will be present on Friday at the beginning of the assessment process on the Palestinian application.

Meanwhile, Israel approved the construction of 1,100 settlement homes on occupied land in the West Bank on Tuesday, making peace talks over Palestinian statehood more difficult.

Israel opposes the Palestinian bid, declaring that it’s an action to delegitimize Israel. The Palestinian application calls for recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

According to the Security Council resolutions, the application will require nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent members in order to pass.

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