Earlier today, I discussed the admission of ‘Palestine’ to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). I argued that ‘Palestine’ is not actually eligible for membership, because it does not meet the criteria in the UNESCO Constitution.
In particular, ‘Palestine’ is not a State.
Of course, the Palestinian Authority claims that it is. Let’s see what it means to be a State and whether ‘Palestine’ is one. Here are the criteria, according to geographer Matt Rosenberg. I’ve interspersed my comments (italicized).
An independent State:
Has space or territory which has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).
No. The lack of defined boundaries go beyond a ‘boundary dispute’. In fact, the PA’s application for admission to the UN that it presented to Ban Ki-Moon does not even specify boundaries, except insofar as it refers to the 1947 partition resolution, UNGA 181, which was never implemented. It could be argued that the PA’s continued publication of maps and other materials that show ‘Palestine’ as occupying all of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean indicate that its claims to defined boundaries are frivolous at best.
Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.
Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
No. It does not regulate foreign trade or issue money. Its ‘economy’ is based on the international dole. It is a pre-failed state.
Has the power of social engineering, such as education.
Yes. The nature and quality of its ‘social engineering’ is suspect, however, since it is racist and focused on aggression against Israel and not toward building an independent and peaceful state.
Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.
Has a government which provides public services and police power.
Yes. It has far more police per capita than New York or Los Angeles, or indeed any UN member state.
Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country’s territory.
No. Hamas controls part of its territory where 40% of its population lives. Israel controls most of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Israel also controls the airspace and most ports of entry. In the parts of Judea and Samaria that it supposedly does control, the PA’s authority is totally dependent on the presence of the IDF and would vanish if it were not there.
Has external recognition. A country has been “voted into the club” by other countries.
Yes, quite a few countries have announced that they ‘recognize’ it. Without sovereignty or defined boundaries, it’s not clear how these statements can be more than rhetoric.
The lack of sovereignty and defined boundaries is critical. Palestine is not a State by the normal criteria of geography.
Of course, for political and propaganda reasons, night can be day.