China is fully supporting Palestine’s full UN Membership

China has continued to show its support for Palestine by voting in favour of Palestine’s full UN membership.

China is fully supporting Palestine’s full UN Membership
United Nations Building in Geneva, by Mathias Reding via Unsplash, May 24th, 2020

25-04-2024

Dara Masita

South and East Asia Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

With the recent escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, China has been a firm supporter of Palestine as they were seen condemning Israel’s acts and pointing out the injustices Palestine is facing. In the latest act of support, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and conveyed his support for Palestine to receive full UN membership in the UN Security Council (UNSC) vote regarding Palestine’s status.

 As predicted, the UNSC resolution was vetoed by the United States, even though it received a wide range of support, with 12 Member States in favour and two states, Switzerland and France, abstaining from the vote. A full membership for Palestine means it has achieved statehood, which will jeopardise Israel’s purpose. Even though a veto was predicted, bringing up the resolution is not fruitless. By having the international community discuss the issue and show its support on the matter, it establishes state practice and precedence. It also highlights the moral and political stance of Israel and the United States that can further isolate them in the global sense.

Aside from being recognised as a state, UN membership can benefit Palestine in different ways. Firstly, it can enhance Palestine’s legal standing in international law, allowing it to bring cases against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). As a non-member of the UN, Palestine is subjected to Article 35(2) of the ICJ Statute. This only allows Palestine to be a party to cases if allowed by the UNSC, which is again subject to the US veto. Secondly, being a member of the UN will allow Palestine to be more involved in international forums and will especially enable them to exercise the right to vote. Nevertheless, Palestine must form a stable government structure to enjoy these benefits.

Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta. As Indonesia avidly supports Palestine's independence, these two countries showed their everlasting support for Palestine. Additionally, Wang proposes that a more significant, more authoritative and effective international peace conference should be organised to formulate a road map for the implementation of the “two-state solution”. 

The UNSC has failed to do its duty to maintain peace and security whenever one of its permanent members is involved in a conflict. The UNSC deadlock has happened several times since the creation of the UN, for instance, with regard to the Russia-Ukraine War, and now we are witnessing it again with the Israel-Palestine conflict. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) can make recommendations regarding matters of maintaining peace and security if the UNSC is in a deadlock based on the Uniting for Peace resolution (GA Res 377(V)). Then again, they can only formulate recommendations with no legally binding effect. With that, Wang’s proposal to hold an authoritative peace conference could be the way to bring the Israel-Palestine conflict to an end.

 

Sources and further reading:

Wang Qi, ‘China expresses support for Palestine's full UN membership ahead of Security Council vote’ (Global Times, 18 April 2024) <https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202404/1310871.shtml> accessed 25 April 2024.

‘US blocks Palestinian push for full UN membership at Security Council’ (Al Jazeera, 18 April 2024) <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/4/18/palestinian-bid-for-un-membership-set-for-security-council-vote> accessed 25 April 2024.

‘China's foreign minister says admitting Palestinian state to UN is move to rectify injustice’ (Reuters, 20 April 2024) <https://www.reuters.com/world/chinas-foreign-minister-says-admitting-palestinian-state-un-is-move-rectify-2024-04-20/> accessed 25 April 2024.