Follow-Up Comments on Palestinian Statehood Vote

Follow-Up Comments on Palestinian Statehood Vote – by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed the upcoming September UN General Assembly vote, accessed through the following link:

Explaining the legal issues, it said delaying what’s long overdue is neither wise nor right for all Palestinians who deserve it.

Their supporters agree, including Law Professor Francis Boyle, former PLO legal advisor in drafting its 1988 Declaration of Independence.

In September, the General Assembly will vote on granting full statehood recognition and de jure UN membership, what only it can grant, not the Security Council. The above linked article explained.

However, Oxford University Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill prepared an opinion, claiming granting it will result in the PLO losing its status. In addition, he said, diaspora refugees will be disenfranchised, left unrepresented by the PLO through the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

His opinion titled, “The Palestine Liberation Organization, the future State of Palestine, and the question of popular representation” can be accessed through the following link:

Boyle discounted his concerns, saying he built explicit safeguards into the 1988 Declaration of Independence he drafted “to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize.”

Having carefully read Goodwin-Gill’s opinion, Boyle emailed the following comments:

My Dear Palestinian Friends:


Goodwin-Gill’s analysis “is based upon most erroneous assumptions. But in a nutshell, in the 15 November 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the PNC representing all Palestinians all over the world,  the Executive Committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine—pursuant to my advice.

So the Executive Committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN Member State.

Hence all your rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.

Unfortunately, this professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize–at my advice.

All of your rights have been protected and will be protected by Palestine becoming a Member State of the United Nations, including the Right of Return.

Indeed, in the Memo I originally did for President Arafat and the PLO back in 1988, I explained how we could obtain UN Membership. All of the advice that I gave to President Arafat and the PLO in 1987 to 1989 was originally premised on the assumption that someday we would apply for UN Membership.

That day has come. Please move forward. I have been working for this Day since I first proposed UN Membership for Palestine along the lines of Namibia at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in June of 1987.

Palestine’s Application for UN Membership was my idea. When my Client and Dear Friend – the late, great Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi, Chair of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Negotiations instructed me to draft the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement, he most solemnly told me: “Professor Boyle, we have decided to ask you to draft this Interim Peace Agreement for us. Do whatever you want! But do not sell out our right to our State!”

And I responded to Dr. Haidar: “Do not worry, Dr. Abdul Shaffi. As you know, I was the one who first called for the creation of the Palestinian State back at United Nations Headquarters in June of 1987, and then served as the Legal Adviser to the PLO on its creation. I will do nothing to harm it!”

As I promised Dr. Haidar, I (did) nothing to harm Palestine and the Palestinians.”

As a result, if the General Assembly grants statehood and full de jure UN membership in September, the rights of all Palestinians worldwide will be preserved. Claiming otherwise is entirely false.


Francis A. Boyle

Professor of International Law

Legal Advisor to the PLO and H.E. Yasser Arafat on the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.

Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle Peace Negotiations (1991-1993) and H.E. Dr.  Haidar Abdul Shaffi

Author, Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2003) and The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law (2011)


A Final Comment

On August 26, London Guardian writer Harriet Sherwood headlined, “Palestinian state could leave millions of refugees with no voice at UN,” saying:

According to Law Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, “(m)illions of Palestinian refugees outside the West Bank and Gaza could lose their representation at the UN if the Palestinian Authority succeeds in winning recognition of its state at the world body….”

Fact check

As the above article, the previous one linked, and Law Professor Francis Boyle’s comments explain, Goodwin-Gill’s analysis is entirely misguided and false. In fact, Boyle asserts:

“Guy’s ‘Opinion’ is a shoddy disgrace. How much was he paid for this hit-job on Palestine? He should go back to his ‘Chambers’!”

Very likely it’s an underhanded effort to derail Palestinian statehood and full de jure UN membership in September. If so, Goodwin-Gill acted disreputably, losing all credibility in the process.

“The Palestinians bid to be accepted as a member state of the UN requires security council approval.”

Fact check

False. Only the General Assembly can grant statehood and full de jure membership. If Washington uses its Security Council veto as threatened, the GA can circumvent it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Someone perhaps paid Goodwin-Gill to produce misguided analysis to derail Palestinian statehood and full UN membership in September.

Guardian writer Sherwood regurgitated his opinion, omitting others able to refute him. Professor Boyle does it admirably. It deserves front page featuring in the Guardian, other leading broadsheets, and web sites supporting Palestinian rights.

This writer, Boyle, and many others forthrightly and honorably back them. So should everyone, including Guardian writers and Oxford law professors.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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