United Nations map now includes the State of Palestine

English: United Nations General Assembly hall ...

English: United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The official United Nations map now includes the State of Palestine for the first time in history.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 5, 2014  — The issue of “statehood” of Palestine was settled in September of 2012 when the United Nations General Assembly voted by an overwhelming 2/3rd majority and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 67/191 was passed.

If we refer to the issue of the State of Palestine being on the official map of the United Nations, you will see that the West Bank and Gaza are demarcated with broken lines without mention of the State of Palestine before the date mentioned.2

​On, December 21st, 2012, the United Nations Office Of Legal Affairs (UNOLA) circulated an internal memo, not to member-States or media, but to the United Nations Secretariat. In the last line of Article 8 of this memo3 stated: which is now public, states:

“However, following resolution 67/19, there is no legal impediment to using the designation “Palestine” to refer to the geographic area of the Palestinian territory.”

The document had other mentionable legal conclusions such as approving the request by the Palestinian people to refer to the nation as the State of Palestine and the government as the government of Palestine.

​It took nearly one year after this internal memo was circulated and leaked by investigative journalists at the United Nations that the United Nations Cartographic Department, responsible for the production of the “World Map”4 State of Palestine which was done on August of 2013.

Link To New Official United Nations World Map: http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/world00.pdf

While it is the norm of the United Nations Cartographic Department, the official body for producing United Nations maps, to state maps do not represent the position of the United Nations Secretariat, the inclusion of the State of Palestine was based on the internal memo mentioned earlier as the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs is part of the United Nations Secretariat.

This practice by the United Nations is not something new. The “de jure” borders of former non-member observer states such as the State of Palestine which joined the United Nations were also put on the World Map before obtaining full membership. This was the case if we look at Germany, Switzerland, Vietnam, etc.

It can be argued that the 1947 borders should have been included instead of the 1967 borders on the map as per United Nations General Assembly 1815 as it is the only resolution speaking about borders of the State of Palestine and backed by state practice as most nations which recognize the State of Palestine including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which is around 2/3rd of the world. However, one could not ask another to recognize the “Jewish” nature or the “Jewish State” mentioned in this resolution as it is not accepted state practice and even Israel’s closest ally; the United States does not recognize it as such.

The International Court of Justice in the “Nicaragua v. United States” (1986)6 expressed in its opinio juris that General Assembly Resolutions are a part of customary international law when state practice as determined at the International Court of Justice. All United Nations Resolutions including the most recent on this issue mention “pre”-1967 borders as well.

With regards to clearing the West Bank of illegal settlements on the ground, this is possible through serving Interpol warrants via the International Criminal Court to the illegal settlers who are in violation of international law and U.S./E.U. foreign policy for the crime of occupation. An earlier article titled “The Endgame For The Israeli Occupation” on this was published with Pravda7 and Interpol News.8

In any case; a proportion of Israel has been officially “wiped off the map” by the world body giving the State of Palestine its rightful place on the world map.

Dr. Parasaran Rangarajan
Editor-in-chief – International Law Journal of London

References   [ + ]

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