Palestinian Statehood: A Study of Statehood through the Lens Of The Montevideo Convention

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Virginia Tech


In general, this thesis sheds light on the complexities associated with formal recognition of statehood within the international community and investigates the application of the articles in the Montevideo Convention relative to obtaining sovereign status as well as Palestine's efforts to meet the requirements set in those articles, in comparison to similar efforts underway by other alleged states. This is most relevant to academia in that it addresses the theoretical application of international law requirements for obtaining statehood and to political/policy circles in providing a synthesized understanding of modern barriers to statehood. Palestine is unable to achieve sovereign status because it lacks international recognition by powerful states, such as the US. Key components of this argument are that the International Court of Justice identifies the articles in the Montevideo Convention as customary law, Palestine meets the Montevideo Convention criteria, even if arguably only in the most basic sense, Palestine currently has bilateral recognition from 135 States and The United States, with support from Israel, continues to threaten its veto powers on any attempt of a bid for full membership by Palestine until a deal can be made between Palestine and Israel at the negotiation tables. Key discoveries made through the comparative analysis are (1) Kosovo, Taiwan and Palestine all meet the criteria outlined in the Montevideo Convention but have yet to receive official membership extended to sovereign states with the United Nations, (2) even in the absence of formal political recognition, diplomatic relationships (whether official or unofficial) still exist; they are typically indicative of economic and business needs rather than political ones and (3) without either unilateral acceptance or abstention of an aspiring state's application for statehood by one of the members of the United Nations Security Council, achieving sovereign status with recognition by the United Nations (and not just some of the sub agencies) is almost impossible. Despite growing momentum in support of a bid for Palestinian statehood, without support from members of the UNSC, progress will be stalled. This thesis explores a topic that is heavily analyzed by taking a step back to look at the basics. Other analyses on the topic of Palestinian statehood are very focused on the complexities of the situation and the mere fact that sovereign status is not achieved; this focuses on the simplicity of the situation and identifying the primary factor that prevents sovereign status.



Palestine, Statehood, Montevideo