Why a UN Declaration of Palestine as a Non-Member State Dooms Hamas

With the UN declaration of Palestine as a non-member state almost certain to pass today, Hamas is left in a very interesting position. They have to choose whether to accept the decision of the UN granting their people a limited declaration of statehood.

Now, this might seem an easy choice for them. But it is a choice that gives them no choices that are good and two that are pyrrhic victories at best.

If Hamas does not accept the UN declaration as valid then they have to admit that Fatah achieved a significant improvement in legal status for the people they both claim to represent. And that will have consequences not exactly good for Hamas.

If Hamas does accept the UN declaration as valid then things are actually even worse for them.

They will have acknowledged that the UN has the legal right to declare states valid and thus:

  • They will have retroactively admitted the validity of the UN declaration 65 years ago today that created Israel
  • They retroactively admit that same declaration created a state for them in the Arab part of the British Mandate and that they could have legally had that state any time in the last 65 years
  • They publicly acknowledge that Israel has a legal right to exist by the same legal means they use to justify their own existence
  • And since that original UN declaration is something they now admit is valid, they also retroactively admit Jerusalem’s status as legally bound to the results of a vote of the city’s population – and Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority for well over a century.

If Hamas accepts the UN declaration, effectively all their remaining objections to Israel as a Jewish state now become no more than a border dispute over the details between the 1949 cease-fire line that was Israel’s border prior to 1967 and the UN authorized adjustments to that cease-fire line that were declared in the UN SC242-1967 and SC338-1973 resolutions that ended the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars.

And that is a far cry from everything Hamas has ever stood for.


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