In an historic move the United Nations General Assembly is expected to upgrade the status of Palestine on Thursday afternoon.
The application in the 193-member body only needs a majority vote to change the territory from observer entity to observer state.
Predictably this issue has proved deeply divisive. Xavier Abu Eid, PLO communications officer, believes this move will change the way Israel can behave towards Palestine:
“There are consequences within the international system if you are occupying another state which is a member of the same organisation, therefore we believe that the day after, Israel will have to weigh the consequences of their actions a little more.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained why he finds the move unacceptable: “The Palestinians must recognise the Jewish State, and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all. None of these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today. And that is why Israel cannot accept it.
This vote could also have implications for Israeli settlements which are regarded as illegal by the international community, and which Palestinians claim as their own.
While the upgrade would be a symbolic milestone for Palestine, a “Yes” vote would also have a practical diplomatic effect, allowing Palestinians to participate in debates at the UN, and potentially join UN agencies and bodies – such as the International Criminal Court.