Palestinian Approaches to International Organizations

We believe that the Palestinians have the right to join international organizations, institutions and conventions that welcome them, including as a member state. Given the precarious prospects for achieving the two-state outcome essential to Israel’s survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, we believe Palestinian participation in such fora helps to bolster international support for two states while helpfully obligating the Palestinians to adhere to the responsibilities of statehood in key areas such as security, governance and human rights.

J Street is very concerned about the continuing bias against Israel that sometimes surfaces in international fora. At the same time, we reject the notion that the Palestinians seeking to participate in international organizations is an attempt to delegitimize Israel, or somehow represents a form of attack. Seeking membership or other status in international fora is a peaceful, non-violent move that affirms international law – in stark contrast to the actions of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror organizations.

Accordingly, we believe the United States should no longer use its voice or vote to oppose Palestinian participation or membership in international organizations. We also vehemently oppose efforts to punish the PLO or the Palestinian Authority for its approaches to such entities. At a time when the United States should be looking for ways to encourage and deepen diplomacy, retaliation against the Palestinians for lawful, non-violent moves harms the prospects for progress, isolates the United States and undermines international law.

J Street believes that US laws currently operating to restrict US contributions to UNESCO – and which would sweep in any other United Nations specialized agency that grants Palestinians full membership status in the future – should be amended. American disengagement from UNESCO is just the first of many potential costly retreats this terrible law may force the United States to make from UN-affiliated agencies – including the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency – of vital importance to America’s economy and security.

While J Street does not endorse Palestinian approaches to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the ICC Prosecutor’s specific conclusions regarding the “Situation in Palestine,” we oppose efforts to defame and delegitimize the ICC and its officers. In particular, we opposed the Trump administration’s decision to sanction ICC personnel as an unacceptable attack on a rules-based international institution and a show of contempt for due process and the rule of law, and have urged the Biden administration to revoke these sanctions.