As the UN prepares to vote on whether to admit the "Palestinian" Authority as a non-voting observer state and the mainstream media breathlessly reports on the status of individual countries leanings on the vote, it is noteworthy to remember that "Palestine" does not meet the criteria used to determine statehood.
Snapshot, a Camera's Blog, explains and highlights the relevant portions of the Montevideo Convention and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, that show conclusively that "Palestine" doesn't qualify.
The again, the UN rarely bothers to follow it's own laws, agreements and criteria, so this isn't very surprising that they would even allow this to come up as a vote..
According to article 4 of the United Nations charter membership is reserved for states (and "peace loving" states at that, but that's a whole other story). But Abbas is asking for "non-member state" status. This would presumably make it easier for "Palestine" to join the International Criminal Court with the intention of bringing cases against Israeli leaders. (This could backfire, of course, since Palestinian leaders would also be subject to the ICC – see "peace loving" above.)
The question remains, however, does "Palestine" qualify as a state? Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States provides the internationally recognized criteria of statehood:
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.Does "Palestine" have a permanent population? If so, why do Palestinian leaders frequently demand that residents be allowed to become citizens of another state, Israel?
Does "Palestine" have a defined territory? According to article 17 of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian Legislative Council does NOT have jurisdiction over "issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis". No jurisdiction over borders? No defined territory.
Does "Palestine" have a government? You could argue it has two: one government in areas of the West Bank and one in Gaza. And they don't even get along with each other. That's not an effective government by any stretch of the imagination.
Does "Palestine" have the capacity to enter into relations with other states? Again, not under the Interim Agreement. Article 9, paragraph 5-a states clearly:
...[T]he [Palestinian Legislative] Council will not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations, which sphere includes the establishment abroad of embassies, consulates or other types of foreign missions and posts or permitting their establishment in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, the appointment of or admission of diplomatic and consular staff, and the exercise of diplomatic functions.
Read the entire piece.
Related: The use of the term "Palestinian" for an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact - and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967.