Why Ireland should support
UN membership for a Palestinian state
In November 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) declared the establishment of a
Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, that is, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and
Gaza – the Palestinian territories Israel has occupied by force since 1967 .
With this declaration, Palestinians accepted the objective of a state on just 22% of their historic
homeland, with Israel continuing to exist in the other 78%. Since then, the way has been open
for a “two-state solution”. But, it has been impossible to achieve because Israel has refused to
withdraw from the territory meant for a Palestinian state.
In response to this declaration in 1988, close to a hundred states in the world recognised a
Palestinian state and granted it full diplomatic relations. Other states, including Ireland, while not
going as far as recognition, established some form of diplomatic relations with it. In January
2011, Ireland upgraded Palestinian representation in Dublin to that of a Mission.
Palestinians are now seeking the ultimate form of international recognition for their state, that is,
UN membership. Writing in the New York Times on 17 May 2011, PLO Chairman, Mahmoud
Abbas, made the following appeal:
“We call on all friendly, peace-loving nations to join us in realizing our national aspirations by
recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and by supporting its admission to the
United Nations.” 
An application for UN membership must first be recommended by the Security Council, where it
may be subject to a US veto, and then approved by the General Assembly by a two-thirds
majority of members present and voting (see Article 4 of the UN Charter ).
If the US vetoes UN membership in the Security Council, Palestinians are expected to apply for
observer rights at the UN as a “non-member state”, which requires a simple majority in the
General Assembly and cannot be blocked by the US.
As far back as 1974, the General Assembly recognised the PLO as “the representative of the
Palestinian people” and granted it observer rights at the UN. At present, Palestine has a
permanent mission at the UN with observer rights, but as a liberation movement, not as a state
with internationally recognised territory.
We in Sadaka believe that Ireland should support UN membership for a Palestinian state on the
In the UN General Assembly this autumn, Ireland should vote for UN membership for Palestine,
if the opportunity arises, or alternatively for observer rights for Palestine at the UN as a “non-