by Kennedy Graham
The State of Palestine cast its vote for the first time at the United Nations earlier this week.
This historic event, along the road to Palestine’s full membership of the United Nations, was connected to electing a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
This vote was one small step for Palestine, one giant leap for self-determination. By participating in the vote and advancing the cause of law and justice, Palestine is also advancing towards its status as a full member of the United Nations.
Palestine now has access to many U.N. agencies and international bodies, including the International Criminal Court and UNESCO.
Palestine was able to have its international status upgraded after it failed in an attempt to secure full UN membership because of US resistance.
In the past the US has used its veto power in the Security Council to block Palestine. In the General Assembly, however, no country has the power of veto and Palestine was able to secure its status as a non-member state.
As a UN official stationed in the Middle East a while back, I used to take groups of young leaders into West Bank where we met Palestinian leaders under siege, and witnessed the aftermath of house demolitions. Things are still grim there, but all the more reason for political moves of this kind to succeed.