What is an observer state, anyway? A quick lesson on the statehood bid

Would Palestine state membership at UN be more than symbolic?

Ashraf Amra APA images

The analogies that come from 30 years of teaching and a lifetime as a refugee: priceless. 

Mom: What is an observer state, anyway?

Me: Like the Vatican.

Mom: The Vatican is in the UN?

Me: Yes.

Mom: So, basically, no one checks whether or not you’re present or absent during roll call.

Me: What?

Mom: You know - like the kid that comes to class every day, but isn’t really registered. So, you don’t pay attention to whether he is present or absent, and his assignments don’t get graded…and in general, no one really cares what he has to say.

Me: You mean when someone audits a class?

Mom: Yes!

Me: So we’re auditing statehood in the UN?

Mom: You have a better explanation for the title ‘observer’?

Me (laughing): No, ma’am. 

This is not a dramatized account!




There are two words to this new fangled status of Palestine. First Observer, which is pretty straightforward and nothing to get excited over. Yes, very much like a student who audits a class; student auditor. I doubt anyone would say the word student is meaningless. Likewise, the word "state" is not without some power in this event. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, trapped, colonized and marginalized by the United States, I am not surprised by the U.S. response to this event. Look how long it took the U.S. and Canada to sign onto the U.N. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Palestinians are the indigenous people of Palestine! Jews are, for the most part, European colonizers. While most Cherokees have been assimilated and acculturated, practicing a very conservative form of Christianity similar to whites in the U.S. south, thus blindly supporting Zionism; some of us are not and support the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine. Welcome to the STATE of Palestine from a Cherokee Nationalist who can only dream that one day the Cherokee Nation will be elevated to the status of Observer State.


Thank you David for your message of hope.
The US now threatens to bully the UN into submission under pressure from AIPAC. The US will also withdraw funds to Palestine, and Israel will withhold the taxes that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians, if the long suffering Palestinians go to the ICC.
This is infact Israels and the US's shameless admission that they break International Covenants and Laws.
But this is the one time the world has shown that it is fed up with this oppression and stood up to these bullys. This bold stand by the Palestinians is commendable albeit it may create more hardship.
This is a stepping stone in the right direction and shows the raving madman in Israel that enough is enough.
David, no Empire lasted for ever in history and you will oneday surely get your land back even if you are not there to see it for yourself. Oppression lasts not for ever my brother. That is a statement of certainity!

Nour Joudah

Nour Joudah's picture

Nour has a MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. She was teaching high school and living in Ramallah prior to a re-entry denial, and subsequent ban from traveling to Palestine. Nour is currently re-exiled to and living and working in Washington, DC. She is the Associate Producer for Status, an Audio Journal and show, and blogs at isdoud.wordpress.com. Twitter: @nsdoud