Palestinian Americans have called on Arabs, Palestinians and their allies everywhere to reject a bid by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ask the United Nations next month to admit the “State of Palestine” as a full member.
In a 27 August statement from its coordinating committee, the US Palestinian Communities Network (USPCN) wrote:
We call on all Palestinian and Arab community associations, societies and committees, student organizations, solidarity campaigns, to reject fully and unequivocally the Statehood initiative as a distraction that unjustifiably and irresponsibly endangers Palestinian rights and institutions.
The USPCN statement comes amid growing concern globally among Palestinians that the PA’s UN bid harms Palestinian rights. USPCN describes itself as “US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) is a grassroots community network with over twenty democratically-elected chapters.”
Earlier this month, as The Electronic Intifada reported, the Boycott National Committee (BNC) of the Palestinian campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel also issued a warning about the UN bid.
Endangering Palestinian rights
Like the BNC, the USPCN statement emphasizes that fundamental Palestinian rights, not “statehood” remain the core of Palestinian efforts:
As has been recently revealed, this initiative in no way protects nor advances our inalienable, and internationally recognized, rights—fundamental of which are our right to return to the homes and properties from which we were forcibly expelled, our right to self-determination, and our right to resist the settler colonial regime that has occupied our land for more than 63 years.
The Palestinian people, wherever they are, hold these rights. They are non-negotiable. No one can barter them away for false promises of “peace” and “stability.” The cynical irony of turning a UN resolution enshrining our right to return under international law (UNGA Res. 194) into a rhetorical ploy should give anyone pause. That it is being advanced at a time when the PA does not even have the political mandate of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through Palestinian Legislative Council elections must also give us pause.
USPCN also urged Palestinians and allies to attend a 15 September rally at the United Nations in New York “For Palestine and the Right of Return.”
International law expert confirms widespread fears about UN bid
USPCN’s statement follows, and makes reference to, a recent memorandum by Guy Goodwin-Gill, an international law expert at the University of Oxford which warned that the UN bid could see most Palestinians legally disenfranchised if an illusory “State of Palestine” were to replace the PLO as the holder of Palestine’s seat at the UN.
Legally, the PLO has long been recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” even though its structures have long been defunct or inoperable. USPCN echoed widespread calls for the reconsitution of the PLO on a democratic and representative basis.
Goodwin-Gill’s memo and an interview he gave explaining its implications have heightened concern among Palestinians about the PA’s ill-thought out and desperate step which comes after the complete failure of the US-sponsored “peace process” on which the PA bet all its cards.
In recent months, a consensus has emerged among Palestinian experts and organizations that the UN statehood bid is useless at best, and highly damaging to Palestinian rights at worst.