Recently, The United Nations granted Palestine observer status. What, if anything, does this enable Palestine to do that they couldn't do before, or is the gesture simply a symbolic step?

2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia:

Observers have the right to speak at United Nations General Assembly meetings, participate in procedural votes, and to sponsor and sign resolutions

Most importantly, it gives Palestinians access to other U.N. bodies like the International Criminal Court, where Palestinians could launch complaints against Israel. Example:

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russian Parlament Mikhail Margelov felt that raising the representation of Palestine to the recipe a non-member observer state at the United Nations allows the Palestinians to file complaints and lawsuits against the “entity” in the International Court in The Hague.

Margelov told reporters, “The General Assembly of the United Nations lifted Palestinian representation to recipe observer State is a member of the United Nations, a status that enables Palestinians to file complaints and lawsuits against military strikes Zionism to United Nations agencies of the 18, including the Hague tribunal.” (src)

Moreover, pretty much everyone admits that - in practice - the vote amounted to recognition of sovereignty. Example: Reuters.

  • Care to find another source?
    – Kevin Peno
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:21
  • @KevinPeno - How is Wikipedia insufficient?
    – user4012
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:21
  • Let me go find a reference to a yahoo answer as to why its not the best source ;) (answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090511152328AA4BsVG)
    – Kevin Peno
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:24
  • 1
    This too far-reached as an answer. The access to the other institutions was alreafy given to Palestinians as part of Israel. While politically not liked this was the case before the admission. Even if it is a de facto recognition that is still short of being more than a symbolic act. Only full membership equals to formal recognition. Dec 5, 2012 at 18:29
  • @SvenClement - cite?
    – user4012
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:42

This is purely a symbolic step.

The only real implication is that Palestine now has the right to have a permanent delegation to the U.N. Those employees get access to all the documents to prepare the meetings but to nothing which is not public anyway.

  • This is wrong. There are implcations.
    – user4012
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:09

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