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Sunday, September 4, 2011

“Take a Stand” September urges End Israeli Occupation Campaign

From:  uscampaign@endtheoccupation.org 
Excerpts, re-reporting, minor editing by Carolyn Bennett

Will Palestine this fall become the newest member of the United Nations? As the opening of the UN General Assembly draws near, this question looms above the rest.

UN Security Council: five permanent members hold veto power (Peoples Republic of China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States)
The answer to this question may depend on the position of our [the U.S.] government. If the United States uses its veto in the UN Security Council as promised, then Palestine’s full membership in the UN will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

In that case, the General Assembly may admit Palestine as a ‘non-member state,’ a status held by the Vatican.

Palestine’s bid for UN membership has engendered many opposing reactions, with some believing that it could advance the cause of Palestinian human rights, while others think it could set it back.  Get a variety of political perspectives from U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s website [http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3023].

Whether you support or oppose this initiative, or are neutral toward it — the U.S. Campaign takes no position (read more in frequently asked questions, FAQ, page http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3022 — there are a few things we can all agree on:

  • ·    Palestinians are entitled to all of their individual and national rights, including self-determination, freedom, justice and equality.

  • ·     The biggest obstacle to Palestinians attaining these rights is U.S. diplomatic and military support for Israeli occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians (whether they are living under military occupation, as Israeli citizens, or as refugees denied their right of return to their homes).

  • ·     The United States should not use its veto at the UN to shield Israel from accountability for its illegal policies and actions, nor should the United States sanction Palestinians for pursuing their long-denied rights.
Last month, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation delivered to the U.S. State Department  an open letter signed by more than 125 groups, including 30 national organizations, and petitions signed by more than 25,000 people urging the Obama Administration not to veto Palestine UN membership if the issue comes up in the Security Council
[http://blog.endtheoccupation.org/2011/08/media-release-125-groups-25000.html ].

National organizations CODEPINK, Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Just Foreign Policy contributed petition signatures to the overall count. [Petition site: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7340].

Yet the State Department refused to discuss its position with the Campaign, ignoring their concerns (More about the Obama Administration’s position in essay by Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner at http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/08/straining-every-nerve-against-un-membership-for-palestine/).

Organizing is critical to exert more pressure and to make voices heard more clearly.

Campaign member organizations and individual activists are taking to the streets in protest of U.S. diplomatic and military support of Israel. 
PALESTINE Britannica image
  • ·       September 10, the North Texas Boycott, Divest, and Sanction of Israel Campaign rallies in Fort Worth to protest the potential U.S. veto in the Security Council [http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177939215613262] 
  • ·      September 15, a coalition of dozens of New York-based organizations, many of which are members of the U.S. Campaign, rally and march  at the UN in support of Palestinian self-determination. [http://uspcn.org/2011/08/08/ny-september-15-rally-for-palestine-and-the-right-of-return/ ] [http://uspcn.org/2011/08/08/ny-september-15-rally-for-palestine-and-the-right-of-return/] 
  • ·      September 15, coinciding with the International Day of Democracy, activists around the country are planning demonstrations opposing U.S military aid to Israel and U.S. interference with Palestine’s quest for UN membership. Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, Urbana, IL, Omaha, NE, Pittsburgh, PA, and Austin, TX had announced plans for events as of September 1 [http://www.facebook.com/pages/September15/216475758396747?sk=events] 
  • ·      September 16, several organizations plan demonstrations at the federal building in Los Angeles to protest the threatened U.S. veto. [http://codepinkalert.org/calendar.php?id=3911]  [http://codepinkalert.org/calendar.php?id=3911] 
September 16-19 in Washington D.C. the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation holds its 10th Annual National Organizers’ Conference [http://www.endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=377]

Sources and notes

“Take a Stand: Join a September Action or Organize One in Your City” posted September 1, 2011, by U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3099
Subject:  Protest U.S. Diplomatic & Military Support of Israel as UN Vote Nears
From:  uscampaign@endtheoccupation.org 

Membership in 2011

The UN Security Council is composed of five permanent members (Peoples Republic of China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and United States); and 10 non-permanent members (below alphabetically with year of end of term):

Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011)
Brazil (2011)
Colombia (2012)
Gabon (2011)
Germany (2012)
India (2012)
Lebanon (2011)  
Nigeria (2011)  
Portugal (2012)
South Africa (2012)

The General Assembly elected Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa to serve as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January 2011. The newly elected countries have replaced Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.

In the English alphabetical order of their names, members of the Security Council hold the Presidency of the UN Security Council in turn. Each President holds office for a single calendar month.

The UN General Assembly elects ten non-permanent members for two-year terms. They are ineligible for immediate reelection. The number of non-permanent members increased from six to ten by an amendment of the Charter, which came into force in 1965.

Each Council member has one vote. 
  • ·       Decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members. 
  • ·       Decisions on substantive matters require nine votes — including the concurring votes of all five permanent members. This is the rule of ‘great Power unanimity,’ —often referred to as the ‘veto’ power.
Under the Charter, all Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.

While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to Governments — the Council alone has the power to take decisions, which Member States are obligated under the Charter to carry out. http://www.un.org/sc/members.asp

UN General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority. http://www.un.org/en/ga/about/index.shtml

There are 193 United Nations (UN) member states. Each of them is a member of the United Nations General Assembly [Wikipedia].

How does a country become a Member of the United Nations?

Membership in the Organization, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, “is open to all peace-loving States that accept the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able to carry out these obligations”. States are admitted to membership in the United Nations by decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

How does a new State or Government obtain recognition by the United Nations?

The recognition of a new State or Government is an act that only other States and Governments may grant or withhold. It generally implies readiness to assume diplomatic relations. The United Nations is neither a State nor a Government, and therefore does not possess any authority to recognize either a State or a Government. As an organization of independent States, it may admit a new State to its membership or accept the credentials of the representatives of a new Government.

Membership in the Organization, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, ‘is open to all peace-loving States which accept the obligations contained in the [United Nations Charter] and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able to carry out these obligations.’ States are admitted to membership in the United Nations by decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The procedure is briefly as follows: 
  1. The State submits an application to the Secretary-General and a letter formally stating that it accepts the obligations under the Charter. 
  2. The Security Council considers the application. Any recommendation for admission must receive the affirmative votes of 9 of the 15 members of the Council, provided that none of its five permanent members — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America — have voted against the application.
  3. If the Council recommends admission, the recommendation is presented to the General Assembly for consideration. A two-thirds majority vote is necessary in the Assembly for admission of a new State.
  4. Membership becomes effective the date the resolution for admission is adopted. http://www.un.org/en/members/about.shtml


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