UN General Assembly "Uniting for Palestine"

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Robbie Sabel - Decision-making in the UN General Assembly is on the basis of one vote for each member state, giving equal weight to Micronesia and China. The drafters of the UN Charter were therefore careful not to grant the General Assembly any executive or legislative power. Except on matters of procedure and budget, all General Assembly resolutions are only recommendations. The other main organ of the UN is the Security Council, which was granted the primary responsibility for matters of international security and peace. During the early years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union used its veto power in the Security Council to prevent decisions being taken against North Korea. In order to bypass the stalemated Security Council, the U.S. initiated General Assembly Resolution 377, known as the "Uniting for Peace Resolution," which declared that where the Security Council could not reach a decision because of a veto, a special session of the General Assembly could be convened "with a view to making appropriate recommendations for collective measures... including the use of armed force when necessary." There are reports that this September, the Palestinian delegation to the UN, which has observer status, will attempt to introduce a new "Uniting for Peace" resolution calling for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 boundaries. In fact, a 2003 Arab-sponsored "Uniting for Peace" resolution has already called for "affirming the necessity of ending the conflict on the basis of...the Armistice Line of 1949." If adopted, a new such resolution would not be binding on Israel or on any other state. Under international law, except for cases where a former border is inherited by new states, borders can only be delimited by agreement between the states concerned. No UN organ has the authority to delimit boundaries. Even if the Palestinians were to declare themselves as a state, the General Assembly could then only accept Palestine as a member of the UN if there is a recommendation to that effect from the Security Council, where a permanent member of the Council could veto such a recommendation. The writer lectures in international law at Hebrew University and is a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

2011-04-11 00:00:00

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