Palestinian Authority renews push for full UN member status

PA ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour has been quietly negotiating the bid for full UN membership over the past several weeks (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  August 26, 2022

PA ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour says he is in negotiations over gaining full status, but the US has warned leadership against any such move.

The Palestinian Authority has renewed a bid for full membership at the United Nations, but faces an uphill battle as the United States has warned PA leadership against any such move.

“We are negotiating in good faith with all [UNSC] members,” PA ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour told reporters in New York on Thursday.

“There is cautious optimism in the atmosphere.”

Several weeks ago, Mansour quietly began consultations in New York with Security Council members over a possible full membership bid, Palestinian, Israeli and US sources told Axios.

The move has been seen as an attempt to break the international gridlock in the peace process. Mansour said that given there is no peace initiative on the table, the issue of full UN membership should move forward.

“This is a policy of the Palestinian leadership and their people from the top down,” he said.

“If we succeed in admitting the state of Palestine to [UN] statehood, then maybe you can help Israeli leaders to paint in their head you will never succeed in destroying the two-state solution,” Mansour said.

However, any application for full membership at the UN would need approval from the Security Council. The United States, which holds veto power at the council, has opposed any previous attempts to do so.

The Biden administration urged the PA not to pursue a vote at the UN Security Council on gaining full UN membership, Axios reported on Thursday, stressing it will likely veto any such move.

Full membership at the UN would equate to recognizing Palestinian statehood at the international level, and the US believes this should occur after the resolution of an agreement for a two-state solution.

In 2012, the UN upgraded Palestinian status to that of a “non-member state”, a move which grated the Palestinian’s de-facto statehood status. However, this was done at the General Assembly, where no member has veto power.

Non-member status allowed the PA to participate in the UN as a state and sign treaties, but without the full rights granted to member states.

The push for full Palestinian membership at the UN also comes just several weeks ahead of the UN General Assembly, where world leaders will convene in New York for its annual summit.