Palestine Foreign Policy

Official representatives of the Palestinian Authority have in recent years conducted a diplomatic campaign called Palestine in 194, with the aim of getting Palestine recognized as the 194th UN Member State. Since the 1940s there has also been a UN resolution number 194 recognizing the rights of Palestinian refugees.

The 1947 United Nations Partition Decree was the basis for Israel’s independence in 1948. This has meant that Palestinian claims on land that then became part of Israel are not recognized internationally. By contrast, a large number of UN resolutions have subsequently supported other Palestinian demands, including General Assembly Resolution 194, on refugees’ right to return and / or compensation for land and housing, and resolutions 242 and 338 respectively of the UN Security Council, with demands for Israeli retreat from occupied area.

In 1974, the umbrella organization received PLO observer status at the UN and recognition as a legitimate representative of the Palestinians. It was reinforced by the Oslo process in the 1990s, which included, among other things, mutual recognition of the PLO and Israel. The Palestinian Authority, formed by the PLO, is the state administration with which other countries have official relations, for example as recipients of aid.

The campaign for full membership in the UN began to run as the hope of new peace talks with Israel began to fade. An application was submitted by President Mahmud Abbas in September 2011. The initiative was mainly supported by member countries of the Arab League. The following year, Abbas reaped success when the United Nations General Assembly voted to raise the Palestinian Authority’s status in the UN from observer to observer state, a position that the Vatican has hitherto been alone.

Both individual countries and international organizations are raised to win support for a Palestinian national agenda. Over the years, the PLO / Palestinian Authority has taken the initiative to gain membership in a variety of UN organizations, including UNESCO, the Organization for Education and Culture. There, contradictions with Israel have been recurrent. In 2015, Palestine joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) and signed its Rome Statute. Shortly thereafter, the Palestinian leadership demanded that the court investigate whether crimes against humanity had been committed against Palestinians in the occupied territories. The United States, which by law bans financial support for UN organizations that grant Palestine membership, has protested by withdrawing from UNESCO and taking part in certain other collaborations under review. As the United States is also the largest single donor country to UNWRA, decisions in Washington to limit support to the refugee organization have had tangible effects on schools and care in the refugee camps. Even regarding Israel’s continued expansion of settlements on occupied land, the Palestinians have requested a criminal investigation at the ICC.

The PLO also represents the Palestinians in the Arab League, the Arab-speaking countries’ cooperative organization. A larger circle of countries is reached in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), a collaboration between Muslim states. The OIC was formed in 1969 – after the 1967 war, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the city’s oldest, central parts with the most prominent holy sites.

The King of Jordan has formal status as protector of the holy places of Islam in Jerusalem. In 1988, when Palestinian bodies in exile proclaimed a Palestinian state, Jordan renounced its claims on land west of the Jordan River in favor of a Palestinian state. Jordan and Israel have been keeping peace since 1994, and Jordanian views may have some impact on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

Egypt, which made peace with Israel from 1978 to 1979, gave up its claims on the Gaza Strip. “Mediators with their own interests” is a summary description of Egypt’s attitude to the Palestinian phalanx. The Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza was formed as a committee of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Muslim organization that exists in several countries and is countered by the Cairo state leadership. Egypt also does not want to jeopardize peace with Israel, even though it has never been described as warm and prefers a PLO dominated by secular Fatah over the Islamist claims of Hamas in Gaza. It also states that Egypt fights jihadi movements on the Sinai Peninsula, bordering the Gaza Strip.

In the peace process, which has so far been based on the premise that the goal is a two-state solution, the United States has played a key role. In 2009, President Barack Obama made statements that supported the downturn line before 1967 as a frontier for a Palestinian state. When Obama’s successor Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it meant recognition of Israel’s control over the entire city, including its Arab eastern half. The UN General Assembly held a vote in which 128 countries voted against the US decision, and few countries have followed the United States in its tracks. In November 2019, the United States government passed on another very controversial message: that it was not considered that Israeli settlements on occupied land necessarily constitute a violation of international law and that the assessment of whether settlements are legal should be made in Israel, by the Supreme Court. From the Palestinian side, the statement looked like the US would release “the law of the jungle”. The outside world, for example the EU, hastened to reiterate the attitude that has been in place since the 1967 occupation: that settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits an occupation power from moving into its own population. In January 2020, President Trump presented a peace plan, which in all important respects supported Israeli claims. In order to make the plan more appealing to the Palestinians (and the outside world), the United States put in view major investments in the Palestinian economy; Persuasion to invest large sums had been directed at rich Arab states in the region. The Palestinians, for their part, “lobbied” with neighboring states and EU countries to persuade them not to support Trump’s plan.

By 2020, Palestinians expected 137 states to recognize Palestine, including Sweden (2014) and Iceland. Many of the accolades already came after a declaration of independence from PLO in 1988 (see Modern History). The EU has both criticized Trump’s Jerusalem decision and reiterated his support for the two-state solution, but most member states refrain from recognizing Palestine as a state pending a final peace deal with Israel, a state located in Asia continent defined by ehealthfacts.

Turkish President Erdo─čan has been at the forefront of Muslim protests against Israel. On Turkish initiative, the OIC condemned the US recognition of Israel’s supremacy over Jerusalem and called for the establishment of an international peacekeeping force to protect Palestinians.

Palestinians are troubled by the fact that Israel has made efforts to improve its relations with Arab states with which the country does not even have diplomatic relations. In June 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic erupted, the Palestinian Authority rejected a plane load of medical equipment from the United Arab Emirates. The transport was based on an agreement between the Emirates and Israel, but had not been coordinated with the Palestinians.

Palestine Foreign Policy