Palestine

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UNESCO Approves Palestinian Membership Bid – A Case for US Countermeasures Against the Organization?

Christiane Ahlborn is Ph.D. Candidate at the Amsterdam Center for International Law and member of the project on Shared Responsibility in International Law (SHARES) On 31 October 2011, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) approved the bid of Palestine for full membership with the necessary two-thirds majority. Although 107 UNESCO States voted in favor of Palestinian membership, the approval also faced notable opposition by 14 States. The overall number of 173 votes cast included 52 abstentions. Among the States voting against the bid were the United States, Canada and several EU member States, including Germany and the Netherlands. While the diverging positions of EU member States thus reveals once again the lack of unanimity in EU external relations policy, the US disapproval of the Palestinian UNESCO membership may have more serious consequences at the level of US-UNESCO relations. For after the approval of Palestine’s membership bid, the US immediately announced that it would cut off its funds to UNESCO, which amount to 60 million USD annually. This decision is based on several US laws…

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Palestine’s Application for UN Membership

The official application submitted by Palestine for UN membership is now available here, UN Doc. S/2011/592 (h/t Diane Marie Amann). It is of interest not the least because it has been carefully drafted and with the benefit of substantial legal advice. Note, first, how Mahmoud Abbas is not titled President of the Palestinian National Authority,…

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The Birth of Israel and Palestine – The Ifs of History, Then and Now

Given the promised September UN move by the Palestinian Authority it is of interest to recall some of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Israel. There are some interesting historical parallels and some differences. In public opinion and Hollywood movies, Israel was born with a UN midwife: UNGA Resolution 181, the famous Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947…

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Ronen and Pellet on the ICC and Gaza

I’d like to commend to our readers’ attention an excellent article by Yael Ronen in the most recent issue of the JICJ on the declaration lodged by Palestine accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC with respect to Gaza, raising the issue whether Palestine qualifies as a state in the sense of the Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute –…

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Goldstone Report on Gaza: A Question of Trust

I have just skimmed through the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission’s Report on Gaza that was released yesterday. It is a beast at almost 600 pages, so I was necessarily more quick than thorough. All in all, my impression of the Report is that it is balanced, corroborated and credible. But this is, mind you, no more than an impression. I…

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