The United Nations General Assembly voted May 10 in favor of making Palestine a full member with voting rights in the U.N. Currently, Palestine has only observer status. 

Only nine countries — led by the U.S. and Israel — voted against full membership for Palestine, with 25 countries abstaining. Only two Latin American countries and none of the African members voted no or abstained. The 143 countries that backed Palestine contain the vast majority of the world’s people and encompass most of its land mass.

Logic would dictate. then, that Palestine would be admitted as a full member of the U.N. That’s how democracy works, right? Wrong! 

Since its formation in 1945, the U.N.’s structure has been rigged against colonized nations, by concentrating the real power not in the General Assembly but in the U.N. Security Council. This 15-member body includes five “permanent” members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — with veto power over resolutions passed by the Security Council, including recommendations from the General Assembly. 

This means that the U.S. alone can block any decision made by most of the other countries in the world. This has been the case every time the General Assembly votes to oppose the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Only the U.S., Israel and a few other countries vote to maintain the blockade — but the economic strangulation of Cuba continues.

The way the U.N. is set up allows U.S. imperialism to advance its own interests against any country that gets in its way. It’s no accident that five of the U.N.’s six “principal organs” are U.S.-based, located in New York City. The one exception is the International Court of Justice, headquartered in The Hague. That in itself speaks volumes about who really calls the shots in this international body.

Because of a rigged system, in place for almost 80 years, U.S. imperialism can — and most likely will, as it did in the Security Council in April — deny Palestine a vote in the U.N. The General Assembly resolution asks the U.S. to reconsider its April veto. But the odds of that happening are slim to none.

The vote in favor of making Palestine a full U.N. member, while unenforceable, was a political victory. As Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine political bureau member Omar Murad stated May 12: “The voting in the United Nations General Assembly with a majority of 143 votes to accept the request for membership of the State of Palestine is an important achievement obtained thanks to the steadfastness of our people, their sacrifices and the support of the free people of the world, and it represents a resounding slap in the face of the Zionist entity.” (Resistance News Network)

Yet justice in Palestine will never be won by way of the U.N.’s processes. The Palestinian resistance, with the support of the international working class, is the force that can bring down the racist, settler-colonial Zionist state. 

That victory is on the horizon!

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