Dimitris Rapidis

United Nations General Assembly is expected to upgrade the status of Palestine from observer entity to observer state. If this is to be reached -with simple majority- it would be an historical moment for Palestine, Israel, but equally for the entire international community.

This is the second bid of the Palestinian side since 2011 when the first one failed to pass from the Assembly, due to lack of support from the Security Council. This is a long-held effort from the Palestinian Authority, and PLO (i.e. Palestinian Liberation Organization), which for years endeavor to upgrade the status of Palestine. The efforts for establishing an independent and sovereign state, including the territories of Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestine state, have been blocked by the Security Council and the pressure Israel was exerting towards this development. In the contrary, both parties, Palestine and Israel, while having reached an agreement on mutual recognition on 1993 (i.e. Oslo Accord), were found two decades now in an on-and-off state of peace, being regularly involved in deadly assaults.

After the deadlock on negotiation talks on 2010, the Palestinian Authority changed its policy and started asking individual members on bilateral basis to recognize an independent Palestine, with borders signified after the ceasefire lines which separated Israel and the West Bank on the Six Day War on 1967. The proposition of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of PLO, is moving towards a win-win game for both Palestine and the special balancies inside the UN: a non-member observer state -the same status Vatican holds currently.

The upgraded status of Palestine will offer the following “advantages” to the PA:

1. allow Palestinians participate in the UN General Assembly debates

2. join the UN Agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Therefore, Palestine will be in position, under certain circumstances, to bring Israel into international justice for all atrocities linked with attacks within the Palestinian territory. In addition to that, it will balance Palestine’s position globally, press Israel to control its one-sided invading policy in Palestine and develop a certain strategy towards the final resolution of its sovereign status.

On the other side, it is apparent that the new status of Palestine will press Israel to conform with and abide by the public international law rules. As a matter of fact, global pressure over Israel’s invading policy, along with the fragile environment in Middle East with reference to Syria, Iran, and the Kurdish insurgence, are amongst the fundamental causes I personally reckon that have contributed towards the shift over Palestine’s status. All involved parties in the entire region, from Israel to the US, Russia, and Turkey, have major confrontation issues, but a common and crucial task to guarantee: the maintainance of regional peace and the deterrence of an escalating conflict that could unleash deep and wide instability.

Therefore, the status of observer state set for acceptance for Palestine is included in the general strategic framework of the major geopolitical actors in the region. From this perspective, I come to the conclusion that this new development is a great chance for both Israel and Palestine to start discussing in a different, more solid and balanced basis.

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