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Palestinian Deception and the Unwarranted Trust of the West: The Case of Palestinian Accession to International Conventions

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Palestinian Deception and the Unwarranted Trust of the West: The Case of Palestinian Accession to International Conventions – Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
(from dailyalert.org, Apr. 17, 2014)


On 1 April 2014, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed letters requesting that “the State of Palestine” be granted accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.

This action by the Palestinian leadership, and the consequent, hurried acceptance of the Palestinian applications by the UN and by the Swiss government, raise serious questions both regarding the flawed perception as to the very existence and legal status of a sovereign state of “Palestine,” as well as to the potential implications of what are serious violations of the Oslo Accords and of the very integrity of the international law of treaties.

If the UN and the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands acted in accordance with their legal and moral duties pursuant to international treaty law and practice, they would have determined that the requests by the Palestinian leadership for accession to the conventions fail to meet the requirements of international law.

Statehood can be achieved only in accordance with the accepted international law criteria of a permanent population, a defined territory, government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Pending fulfillment of these criteria, the Palestinians cannot represent themselves as a sovereign state that can accede to international conventions, especially when such conventions specifically condition accession to states only.

In 2011 the UN Security Council rejected a Palestinian request for membership, citing disagreements on whether “Palestine” fulfills the requirements set forth in the UN Charter for membership. Nothing has changed since then.


All 15 conventions listed in the Palestinian requests for accession require that only states be permitted to accede. By rushing to accept the Palestinian accession requests, the depositories are in fact undermining the very integrity of international treaty law and creating dangerous precedents.

Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.

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