Who Really Cares? The UN in the International Arena

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In his article “Palestine Goes to the UN,” Khaled Elgindy draws up a set of cause-consequence scenarios for Palestine’s latest attempt at creating a state. The UN bid, which “marks a dramatic shift in the Palestinians’ approach to the conflict with Israel,” is set to be brought to the table in the UN General Assembly in September of 2011 (since that date has already passed, it will be assumed that we are still in the period prior to it for the purposes of the paper). Following Elgindy’s logic, the arguments of other authors, and the assumptions of the theories on international relations, I will demonstrate how the UN option will most likely fail, but without discounting the positive effect a ‘failure’ can have on the negotiation process.

Elgindy’s main argument is that Palestine’s new strategy of calling on the UN for statehood is, in the long run, the more effective of the two possible policies, the other being, of course, direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine, which have “failed to realize Palestinian national aspirations and have helped prolong and deepen Israel’s occupation while weakening Palestine’s political institutions.” The theory behind his claim is a cost-benefit analysis of the appeal to the UN; whether it goes through (unlikely) or fails, there is something to be gained from it.

The best – and again, most improbable – scenario for the Palestinian people is the official recognition of the state of Palestine by the 1967 borders. The most important effect of recognition is that Israel would be violating international law by having its forces in another state, and would be ‘legally’ obligated to withdraw. The term ‘legally’ is loosely used here because of the debate over the existence of anarchy at th...

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... Sep. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Elgindy, Khaled. “Palestine Goes to the UN.” Foreign Affairs 90.5 (2011): 102-113. Academic Research Premier. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Khalidi, Rashid. The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Print.

Newman, Edward, Roland Paris, and Oliver P. Richmond. New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding. New York: United Nation University Press, 2009. Print.

Pease, Kelly-Kate S. International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-First Century. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.

Rosen, Steven J. “Abbas vs. Obama.” Middle East Forum 18.2 (2011): 53-58. Academic Research Premier. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Scheuerman, William E. Hans Morgenthau: Realism and Beyond. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009. Print.
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