US should no longer veto Palestine’s bid for full UN membership: Global Times editorial

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Palestine’s application for full membership of the United Nations has once again entered a “sprint” phase, with the world closely watching the outcome. During a closed-door meeting on April 11, members of the UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus on Palestine’s bid. According to diplomatic sources, a vote might be held on April 18. On Monday, the UN Security Council president referred Palestine’s application to become a full member to the Security Council Committee on Admission of New Members, composed of representatives from the 15 members, marking the first time in 13 years that the Security Council has considered Palestine’s membership application. If it is approved by at least nine countries and is not vetoed by the permanent members of the Security Council, Palestine’s bid will be submitted to the General Assembly for a vote.

Palestine had applied for membership in 2011, but the US insisted that Israel and Palestine must reach an agreement and threatened to use its veto, ultimately stopping the application from being submitted to the General Assembly. For this renewed application, the US is likely to exert its veto power again. With escalating casualties among Palestinian civilians and a worsening humanitarian crisis amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine for over six months, the legitimate rights and political status of Palestine cannot be deliberately ignored once again due to the interference of individual countries.

In accordance with the purposes, principles, and membership provisions of the United Nations Charter, Palestine already meets all the conditions to become a full member state of the United Nations. In 2012, the 67th session of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer state. In other words, Palestine has already put one foot in the door of the United Nations, and its other foot should not be kept outside. Palestine has received formal recognition from 138 countries so far, meaning it will be a natural progression for Palestine to become a full member state.

Based on the two-state solution as well as the history and reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, establishing an independent and sovereign Palestine and admitting it as a member state of the United Nations will help better contain extremist forces, truly achieve equal and peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel, and avoid more and larger tragedies. Palestine becoming a full UN member is also a collective correction. For a long time, the rights to statehood, survival, and return of the Palestinian people have been disregarded, which is the root cause of the repeated turmoil in the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Admitting Palestine as a member state of the United Nations is fair and just treatment of both sides of the conflict by the international community, and a legitimate measure to avoid more Palestinian civilians becoming victims.

Over the years, Israel has forcibly linked the issue of Palestinian statehood and international status with the issue of Hamas. However, this approach is becoming increasingly untenable. Both Israel and the US acknowledge that Hamas cannot represent the entire Palestinian population, but have continued to use Hamas as an excuse to deny the majority of rights to Palestine. With the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s military actions in Gaza continuing to be exposed, the logic of using Hamas as a reason to block Palestine’s UN membership is no longer convincing, and the bias of the US toward Israel is becoming unsustainable.

The international community’s recognition of Palestine and further safeguarding its legitimate rights and status is an irresistible trend. Following some EU member states, such as Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania announcing their recognition of Palestine, other countries like Spain, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and Australia have recently expressed their intention to do the same. The international community is entering a new stage in further recognizing Palestine and confirming its legitimate rights and political status.

It is worth noting that the US has recently reaffirmed its support for the two-state solution. Now is the time for the US to fulfill its commitments of support with practical actions. The aspirations of Palestine to have full UN membership are overwhelming, and the US cannot cast a veto again. It should respect and safeguard the legitimate rights and political status of Palestine with concrete actions.