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Palestine: European Union finally sees reality

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The veiled threat by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to approach the United Nations (UN) Security Council to seek its consent to the establishment of a new Arab state between Jordan, Israel and Egypt has received the short shrift it deserved from the European Union (EU).

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the European Union’s rotating Presidency, said on November 17 in Brussels: "I don't think we are there yet. I would hope that we would be in a position to recognise a Palestinian state but there has to be one first, so I think it is somewhat premature.

The PA appears to have a totally misconceived notion of the UN as a body that can create states rather than give recognition to states once they have been established - for the purposes of admitting them to membership of the UN.


Mere declarations of statehood are insufficient to receive recognition by the UN and admission to membership.

Applicants seeking admission to the UN need to establish:

  1. the borders of the new state; and
  2. complete and effective control within those borders

It is painfully obvious that the PA went way out on a limb when PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat declared:

"We have reached a decision to go to the UN Security Council to ask for recognition of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital within June-1967 borders. We are going to seek support from EU countries, Russia and other countries."

The PA has no authority or control in Gaza and only has control of about 40 per cent of the West Bank with Israel’s current consent.


The “June-1967 borders” are not borders - only armistice lines agreed with Jordan and Egypt who occupied Gaza and the West Bank from 1948 until they were lost to Israel in the Six Day War in 1967.

The last recognised sovereign occupier of the West Bank and Gaza was Great Britain as Mandatory Authority under the Mandate for Palestine conferred on it by the now defunct League of Nations.

However, the provisions of the Mandate in relation to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Gaza and the West Bank “without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities” living there - still prevail today by virtue of Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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