Statement on the UNSC Resolution for Palestinian UN Membership

April 18, 2024

The Palestinian people – like all people – have the right to seek the dignity of self-determination and national recognition through lawful, peaceful means. Jews around the world preparing to retell the Passover story know better than most that no people deserve to be stateless. No one should be denied the freedom of self-determination.

Palestinian statehood is ultimately in Israel’s own interests as well, as the only way for Israel to remain secure and democratic as well as Jewish in character is with an independent Palestinian state alongside it.

Internationally recognized Palestinian representatives have the right to join international organizations, institutions and conventions that welcome them, including as a member state. J Street has 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.

Particularly given the internal tensions between Palestinians who seek self-determination through diplomatic means and those who seek to do so through violence, we should not oppose Palestinian participation in such fora and the pursuit of legal and peaceful means of dispute resolution.

As proponents of safety, freedom and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians, J Street has laid out a proposal for a comprehensive regional peace and security initiative that includes US recognition of Palestinian statehood, while integrating Israel as a full, respected and legitimate regional partner. As outlined in our proposal, the pathway to statehood includes a set of clear criteria and actions that the Palestinian Authority should agree to and then meet.

The case of today’s UN Security Council vote on Palestinian membership presents a special problem for the United States, however, as admission of Palestine as a full UN member state would trigger provisions in a series of outdated US laws that would drastically limit the US-Palestinian bilateral relationship, and obstruct the Biden Administration’s ability to fund the United Nations, its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. Passing such a resolution now would functionally complicate the United States’ ability to serve as an effective diplomatic partner to end the conflict and bring about universal recognition of a Palestinian state – while dramatically undermining US leadership in the international community. We therefore support the Biden administration’s decision.

Even as it votes against Palestinian admission as a member state to the United Nations now, the Biden Administration should proactively signal its support for Palestinian statehood and the criteria it expects Palestinian leadership to meet to get there. As noted, J Street has proposed a bold initiative to lay out a clear, achievable pathway to US recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state, and we continue to urge the President to lay out that pathway as the centerpiece of a comprehensive regional security and peace initiative that leads to Israeli security, Palestinian independence and Israeli-Arab normalization.