The Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Human Rights in the Occupied Territories:
Possible Implications of the Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

Written by: Atty. Anne Suciu and Atty. Limor Yehuda[1] (ACRI)

The Palestinian initiative planned for September 2011, in which a request will be made to admit Palestine to the UN as a state within the 1967 borders, or to be recognized as a state by the UN members, is a political and diplomatic move whose implications in general and for the human rights of those in the region are hard to foresee. These implications will largely depend upon decisions made by the Israeli, Palestinian, and international political echelons as well as activity on the ground. Although chances appear slim that Palestine will be accepted for UN membership, in light of the United States veto in the Security Council, the very recognition of Palestinian statehood by a decisive majority of UN Member States would have significant repercussions.

If Palestine is recognized as a state, this would open the way for it to become party to international conventions and international courts. Becoming a state party to these could provide Palestine with new tools to enforce Israel’s obligations to uphold Palestinian human rights. In addition to the rights afforded by international recognition of Palestinian statehood, this new status would obligate it to meet standards of international law, deepening the obligation of Palestinian governing authorities to uphold human rights, and heightening its duty and responsibility to prevent terrorism and threats that originate from within its territory.

In this paper, we outline issues that will arise as a result of this initiative, focusing on those with potential repercussions for the human rights of those living in the region. As a human rights organization, ACRI does not take a position on peace process policy questions. However, since the political changes in the region may have significant implications with regard to specific human rights questions, we have created this briefing to outline some of the expected impacts on human rights issues.

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