On the 15th November 1988, the Palestine National Council under Yasser Arafat made a Declaration of Independence
. The declaration was supported by more than 100 countries, and recognised a two state solution. It led to a UN vote
, which was supported by 104 states and voted against by two. Twenty four years later, on the 29th November, and 65 years to the day
after the UN adopted the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas is making a renewed bid for Palestinian statehood
It follows a failed bid to upgrade its status in 2011 that was unsupported by the UN Security Council. However, in October 2011 the Palestinians were voted membership of UNESCO
, by a margin of 107 were in favour, 14 opposed and 52 abstentions. The move led to Washington cutting its funding of UNESCO
and retaliatory action from Israel
France supports the new bid
, which also has support from 12 other members of the EU, including Spain
, Malta, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Portugal. Russia and China
may also vote in favour of the bid. The UK plans to abstain
but could support the bid with significant caveats. Australia
and Germany will also abstain. Canada is reportedly pressuring the Palestinian Authority to drop the bid
and will vote against it. The US and Israel oppose it
, and believe it will negatively impact future negotiations.
The Palestinians hope to use their upgraded status to join additional U.N. bodies
, such as the International Criminal Court, although the resolution is likely to make no overt mention of this.
In April, the chief prosecutor of the ICC rejected a Palestinian declaration unilaterally recognising the court's jurisdiction
. The prosecutor said the ICC could not act because only a "state" could confer jurisdiction on the court and deposit an instrument of accession with the UN
The Israeli response to a successful vote is unclear
, and subject to disagreements between the main political players. It has said that the bid would be a blow to any peace process.
The outcome of a successful bid will, short term, be limited. But a large symbolic step for the Palestinians. Consequences include a possible restriction of US aid, but also greater legitimacy in the international community on issues such as land rights and possible war crimes.
There are also potential negative consequences for Israeli-Egyptian relations and US standing in the Middle East.