A long Palestinian flag is carried during a protest

A long Palestinian flag is carried during a protest for Palestinian rights on June 1, 2024 in Rome, Italy.

(Photo: Stefano Montesi/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

After General Assembly Vote, UN Experts Demand All Nations Recognize Palestinian State

"The recognition of the state of Palestine is not only a matter of historical justice with the legitimate aspirations of the Palestine people, but it is also an imperative need to achieve peace," said a group of top rights experts.

After a United Nations General Assembly vote last month that made clearer than ever that global support for Israel's policies in the occupied Palestinian territories is shrinking, top experts at the U.N. on Monday issued a demand for all nations to recognize Palestinian statehood and said such a move is a necessary step toward peace in the Middle East.

"All states must follow the example of 146 United Nations member states and recognize the state of Palestine and use all political and diplomatic resources at their disposal to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Gaza," said the experts as Israel's bombardment of the blockaded enclave neared its eighth month.

Palestine's bid to become a full member of the U.N. was supported by 143 member states on May 10, and was followed by announcements by Irish, Spanish, and Norwegian officials that the three countries now recognize the occupied Palestinian territories as a state.

Israel is now joined by just a handful of countries—mostly wealthy Western nations including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.—in refusing to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said last week that his government's recognition of Palestinian statehood has "a single goal: to contribute to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

"The recognition of the state of Palestine is not only a matter of historical justice with the legitimate aspirations of the [Palestinian] people, but it is also an imperative need to achieve peace," said Sánchez.

The U.N. experts on Monday expressed agreement, saying the global recognition of a Palestinian state would be "an important acknowledgement of the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggles and suffering towards freedom and independence."

"This is a pre-condition for lasting peace in Palestine and the entire Middle East—beginning with the immediate declaration of a cease-fire in Gaza and no further military incursions into Rafah," said the experts, including George Katrougalos, independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967; and Cecilia M. Bailliet, independent expert on human rights and international solidarity.

The experts' statement came as the number of people forcibly displaced from Rafah, the southern Gaza city, surged past 1 million as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued its attacks there. The International Court of Justice—the top judicial body of the U.N.—ordered Israel to stop its military operations in Rafah on May 24, days before Israel killed at least 46 people by bombing a tent encampment that had been set up in a designated "humanitarian area."

U.S. President Joe Biden last week endorsed an Israeli plan for a cease-fire in Gaza—one that was similar to a proposal made by Hamas earlier in May, which had been rejected by Israel—but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would not agree to a permanent cease-fire until "the destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities" is complete.

Netanyahu earlier this year said he would not agree to a Palestinian state, demanding control "of all territory west of the Jordan" River and reaffirming his opposition to the two-state solution that has long been the policy objective of the United States.

"A two-state solution," said the U.N. experts, "remains the only internationally agreed path to peace and security for both Palestine and Israel and a way out of generational cycles of violence and resentment."

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