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Self-Determination in Palestine

The right of self-determination remains a corenerstone peremptory norm of international law, from which no exception or derogation can be lawfully justified.

While the Israeli Occupation continues Palestinians right to self-determination can never be fully realised.

The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination has  been confirmed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its Advisory Opinion on the Wall. The ICJ stated that:"…construction [of the Wall], along with measures taken previously, thus severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination, and is therefore a breach of Israel’s obligation to respect that right".

The State of Palestine applied for a membershipat the United Nationson 23 September 2011 based on its territorial sovereignty over the oPt. The application is still pending a UN Security Council membership recommendation to the General Assembly. On 29 November 2012 the State of Palestine was accorded with a non- Member Observer State status at the UN by General Assembly resolution (A/RES/67/19).

Who represents the Palestinian people?

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which emerged as the sole representative of the Palestinians and their struggle for self-determination, has achieved a certain position in international law, based on the international recognition of its goal of self-determination. In 1974, the UN General Assembly decided that contacts should be taken with the PLO on all matters concerning the question of Palestine. In 1975, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3236 which reaffirmed and expressed the ‘inalienable’ rights of the Palestinian people: a) the right to self-determination without external interference; b) the right to national independence and sovereignty; and c) the inalienable right of the Palestinians “to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.” The General Assembly also in its following resolution, Resolution 3237, conferred to the PLO the status of observer in the assembly and in other international conferences held under UN auspices.

The PLO itself has been making attempts to gain increased international legal status. In November 1988, the PLO declared the independence of the Palestinian State, which was recognised by many states. The GA affirmed that this declaration was in line with the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The resolution also called upon states to support the Palestinian people’s right to exercise their sovereignty over the territory occupied since 1967. In 2009, the Palestinian Authority submitted a declaration to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, accepting jurisdiction of the court. Such submissions are usually made by states.