J Street Statement on UN General Assembly Vote on Palestinian Status

May 10, 2024

J Street unequivocally recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and believes universal recognition of a Palestinian state in the near future is in US, Israeli and international interests. We have made clear for some time that the United States should not use its voice or vote to oppose Palestinian participation or membership in international organizations. Instead, we believe the US should proactively signal its support for Palestinian statehood and the criteria it expects Palestinian leadership to meet to get there. J Street has put forward a proposal for a comprehensive regional peace and security initiative that includes a pathway to US recognition of Palestinian statehood.

As we noted in response to last month’s UN Security Council vote on whether to grant Palestine full state membership in the United Nations, such Security Council action, unfortunately, presents a special problem for the United States. Admission of Palestine as a full UN member state would trigger provisions in a series of US laws that would drastically limit the US-Palestinian bilateral relationship and obstruct the Biden Administration’s ability to fund the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and affiliated organizations. We therefore supported the US decision to vote against that specific effort, and for the same reason understand why the United States today voted against a UN General Assembly resolution that urges the Security Council to reconsider full Palestinian UN membership favorably.

At the same time, we support many of the steps outlined in today’s UNGA resolution that would enhance the status, rights and privileges of the Palestinian people at the United Nations. Moves that bind Palestinian leadership to the obligations of statehood are peaceful, international-law-affirming steps that help prepare them and the world for universally recognized Palestinian statehood – and are a stark contrast to the violence and rejectionism of Hamas.

We reject the false claims of those who assert today’s resolution – which expressly states that Palestine is not being granted full state membership in the UN or the crucial right to vote in the body – provides the same standing as UN member states within the meaning of US law. These misrepresentations of today’s vote are an obvious attempt to accomplish the longstanding anti-Palestinian, anti-UN goal of ending critical US funding to meet Palestinian humanitarian needs and the operations of the United Nations. Neither Israelis or Palestinians benefit from the Palestinian people or multilateral institutions being penalized in any way for peacefully and lawfully advancing the cause of Palestinian self-determination.