A European “Maybe” for Palestine

MADRID – On Monday night, the Palestinian Authority submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly that, if approved, will upgrade Palestine’s status from “observer entity” to “non-member observer state.” A positive vote could change the outlook for bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The vote comes after recent violence in Gaza has ostensibly delivered the coup de grâce to any realistic chance for meaningful negotiations to resolve a conflict that remains key to the wider region’s future. In this context, many factors will influence the General Assembly’s decision, one of the most significant of which will be the European Union’s position.

While EU countries have failed to reach a consensus, the European vote most likely will not hinder the resolution’s adoption, which would make Palestine the second state to gain non-member observer-state status, after the Holy See.

Unlike the process for determining full UN membership, a simple majority in the General Assembly is sufficient to grant observer-state status, with no recourse to the UN Security Council. Given that 132 UN members already recognize Palestine, the vote is likely to be positive.