Placard? I Don’t See No Stinking Placard!

by Kevin Jon Heller


Ambassador Susan Rice objected Wednesday to the Palestinians’ latest bid to capitalize on their upgraded UN status when their foreign minister spoke at Security Council while seated behind a nameplate that read “State of Palestine.”

It was the first Palestinian address to the Security Council since the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on November 29 to upgrade the Palestinians from UN observer to non-voting member state.

Rice said that the United States does not recognize the General Assembly vote in November “as bestowing Palestinian ‘statehood’ or recognition.”

“Only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome,” Rice said.

“Therefore, in our view, any reference to the ‘State of Palestine’ in the United Nations, including the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that ‘Palestine’ is a state,” she added.

Fortunately — though I know this comes as a shock to the US, which likes to pretend that it is primus inter pares — the US doesn’t get to unilaterally determine whether Palestine is a state. Nor does Israel (and note that that Rice’s “direct negotiations” lament is simply designed to give Israel a veto over Palestinian statehood by continuing to avoid negotiating in good faith).

My suggestion: at all future UN meetings, Rice should avoid turning her head toward the seat with the State of Palestine placard.  That will make it much easier for her to pretend that more than 70% of the world’s states didn’t recently vote to recognize Palestinian statehood.

2 Responses

  1. Amen.

  2. Response…I wonder why Palestine doesn’t just deposit accessions to the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties and Diplomatic Relations and have the Secretary General notify Ambassador Rice personally about the existence of the new contracting State Party and the legal consequences for the US and the other State parties to those conventions? (e.g. Avena and Other Mexican Nationals & etc.).

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