Palestine is a partially recognized state that is not a member of the United Nations

All Unrecognized States of the World

Where are and how do countries that are not even admitted to the UN feel?

It is very easy to become an unrecognized or partially recognized country. It is necessary to be entrenched on a piece of land and categorically refuse to launch legal procedures for diplomatic resolution of the territorial issue.

Sometimes one sympathizes with such countries: they are not necessarily evil, they have their own truth, and the world’s diplomatic laws are still far from ideal. But one must bear in mind that without a big patron from the outside, they will quickly rot away and dissolve into history.

There are also funny situations. For example, the People’s Republic of China is still not recognized by the Vatican, but also by Guatemala, Honduras, and a dozen other banana republics. I wonder if China itself knows about this.

On February 21, 2022, the elite club of unrecognized states was joined by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. You yourself can tell a lot of fascinating things about them, so we’ll go straight to the rest of the list.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

We usually refer to it as Northern Cyprus. Where it is located is clear from the name. Cyprus ceased to be a British colony in 1960 and gained its long-awaited independence.

The aerial photo shows the mountain range of Kyrenia with the flag of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) next to a quote from the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: “Happy are those who call themselves Turks,” January 22, 2022

All would be well, for there is sun, sea, and bats all around. But the tiny piece of land was inhabited by two not the friendliest nations – Turks and Greeks. Endless squabbles and armed coups began. In 1974, Turkish troops entrenched in the northern part of Cyprus and took full control of it.

In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus decided to become an independent territory. However, no one but Turkey recognized this sovereignty. And yet life there is quite normal – it is easy to check on the Internet, it is full of Russian immigrants.

Republic of South Ossetia

Russia is the world’s best generator of unrecognized states. And South Ossetia is its first pancake. It is located on the border between Georgia and Russia, although from a political point of view it is incorrect to say so, because from the position of the UN territory is part of Georgia.

With the end of the Soviet Union, the region became a hotspot and practically did not get out of the news. The republic declared independence in 1991, but for thirty years it has been recognized by only five countries: Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru, Syria and, of course, Venezuela.

It is home to 55,000 people – about as many as the Altufievo district of Moscow. Like Altufievo, South Ossetia uses rubles and Russian passports. The country is poor, partially devastated by wars, and its population is still waiting to be accepted into the Russian Federation.

Republic of Abkhazia

Abkhazia was the crown jewel of the USSR. The names of the cities of Sukhumi, Gagra, Pitsunda were used by the people almost in a nominal sense – as a symbol of beauty, wealth and luxury.

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A rally in Sukhumi on August 21, 2008. The breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia held rallies demanding recognition of independent states by Russia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, harsh political and military showdown between Abkhazia and Georgia began, and in 1993 a CIS peacekeeping contingent had to be brought in. In 1994, Abkhazia completely repeated the path of South Ossetia, declaring its separation from Georgia. Independence was recognized by the same five states, and Georgia considers Abkhazia a region under Russian occupation.

In subsequent years, Abkhazia has shamefully degenerated and turned from a Black Sea gem into a horror story for tourists. Judging by online reviews, every second Russian who has been to Abkhazia swears never to return there again. And still some Russians are permanently attracted there, they are even thinking about acquiring real estate (for this, however, have to go to some legal tricks). And yes, everything here is also in rubles.

International Legal Status of the State of Palestine

The State of Palestine was proclaimed on November 15, 1988 in Algiers at an extraordinary session of the Palestinian National Council. The legal basis for this act was UN General Assembly resolution No. 181 (II) of November 29, 1947, which divided Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state. The Palestinian declaration of independence was symbolic, because at that time the Palestinian National Council did not control any territory.

However, on September 13, 1993, the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led to the signing of a declaration establishing the Interim Palestinian Self-Governing Authority (PNA).

Israel and 54 member states of the United Nations (UN) did not recognize it. In addition, Palestine has been an observer state at the UN since November 2012. Countries that have not recognized the independence of the State of Palestine believe that the issue of its establishment should be resolved only as a result of direct negotiations between Israel and the PNA. Israel has de facto military control even over large parts of the territory where the Palestinian National Authority exercises formal authority. At the same time, large areas in the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem, are the subject of a dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.


As a result of the First World War, the San Remo Conference (1920) decided to establish a British administration regime under a League of Nations mandate in the territory of Palestine which before the war was part of the disintegrated Ottoman Empire. In addition to the territory of present-day Israel, the mandate included the territories of present-day Jordan, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip. One of the aims of the mandate was “to establish in the country the political, administrative and economic conditions for the safe establishment of a Jewish national home.

In the early 1920s under this mandate Great Britain established the dependant principality of Transjordan, which received about 3/4 of the territory of Mandatory Palestine. At the same time, the clauses allowing Jews to settle in the territory of the Principality were excluded from the Mandate Agreement. On May 25, 1946, it became independent.

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During the 25 years of British administration of the remainder of Palestine, its population increased dramatically, from 750,000 in the 1922 census to about 1,850,000 at the end of 1946 (an increase of nearly 250 percent). At the same time, the Jewish population increased from 84,000 in 1922 to 608,000 in 1946 (an increase of nearly 725 percent). A large part of this increase is due to those born in Palestine, but legal immigration alone gave an increase of 376,000, and the number of illegal immigrants is estimated at another 65,000, a total of 440,000. Approximately 70-75% of the Jewish population lived in cities such as Jerusalem, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Haifa and their suburbs. At the end of World War II, the Jewish population of Palestine was 33%, up from 11% in 1922.

The growth of the Jewish population in Mandatory Palestine was accompanied by active Palestinian Arab resistance, including terrorist attacks and pogroms, and as a result, the Mandate authorities restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine. Britain thus became involved in the Arab-Jewish conflict, and in 1947 its government announced its desire to abandon the mandate, arguing that it was unable to find a solution acceptable to Arabs and Jews.

The United Nations, which had just been established, adopted Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947, at the second session of its General Assembly, a plan to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state with a special status for the UN-held area of Jerusalem. In contrast to the Jewish Yishuv leadership that adopted the resolution, the Supreme Arab Committee of Palestine and the League of Arab States (LAS) generally rejected it.

On May 14, 1948, the day the Mandate ended, the establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed, and on May 15 regular units of the armies of the five LAS countries began invading Palestine in order to destroy the new Jewish state and, according to the LAS declaration on the invasion, to protect the Arab population and establish “a single (Arab) state entity” in Palestine “where all residents will be equal before the law.”

As a result of this war, no Arab state was created, Israel increased the territory planned for a Jewish state, Jerusalem was divided between Transjordan and Israel, the Gaza Strip and the entire West Bank came under Egyptian and Transjordanian control respectively.

In September 1948, the Arab League established an all-Palestinian government-in-exile in Gaza. At the same time, in December of that year the King of Transjordan, Abdullah ibn Hussein, was proclaimed “King of Arab Palestine” at the Jericho Conference. At the conference, which called for the unification of Arab Palestine and Transjordan, Abdallah announced his intention to annex the West Bank. Despite the objections of other LAS members, in 1950 Abdallah unilaterally annexed the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, after which Transjordan was renamed Jordan.

Contradictions between Jordan, Egypt and other members of the LAS led to the fact that the question of establishing an Arab state in Palestine was practically removed from the agenda, and most of the territory allocated by the UN for its establishment was divided between Jordan and Egypt until their defeat in the Six Day War (1967), when it came under Israeli control.

The Turkish pose while eating.

The “All-Palestinian government” in Gaza was dissolved by Nasser in 1959 after the political unification of Egypt and Syria.

Israel’s position

Israel believes that the State of Palestine does not really exist for the following reasons:

  • The claimed state lacks defined territory and an effective government operating within it. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas does not control the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the radical Hamas movement, nor the West Bank, about 60 percent of which is controlled by Israel.
  • The population of this hypothetical state remains unclear. The Palestinian leadership, while claiming to represent the interests of all Palestinians, at the same time refuses to grant civil rights to Palestinian refugees, including those living in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Israel questions whether the Palestinian leadership recognizes international law, respects human rights and seeks peace, all of which are prerequisites for the NPA to be accepted as a state at the UN.

International legal recognition

The state of Palestine is officially recognized by most states of the world, is part of the League of Arab States, but is not recognized by most EU countries, Japan and some other states.

The State of Palestine does not have full UN member status because it is not recognized by the 3 permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, Britain, and France). In order to occupy a seat in the UN, a country must have the support of 2/3 of the UN member states (currently this means needing the support of 129 out of 193 states) when voting in the UN General Assembly with prior approval of its membership in the UN Security Council, in particular the absence of a veto by any permanent member of the Security Council is required.

The sequence of events

In May 1964, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) sent formal notification to the UN Secretary-General of the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In October 1965, some Arab states requested permission for the PLO delegation to attend meetings of the Special Political Committee, and it was agreed that it could present its statements without implying recognition of the PLO. From 1963 to 1973. The PLO participated in the agenda item committee discussions of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In 1974, under General Assembly Resolution 3237, the PLO was granted observer status at the UNGA.

On April 2, 1986, the PLO was granted full membership in the Asian Group of the UNGA.

On December 15, 1988, the UN General Assembly in its resolutions 43/176 and 43/177, “in view of the ongoing Palestinian Intifada since December 9, 1988” and reaffirming resolution 181 (II) of 1947 on the partition of Palestine into two states and UN Security Council resolution 242 of 1967, Took note of the statement of the PLO Executive Committee of 13 December 1988 declaring the State of Palestine to be the National Council of Palestine, and decided to henceforth refer to the PLO delegation, which has observer status at the UN, as the delegation of “Palestine” “without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the PLO in the UN system.”

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In May 1989, Algeria, Indonesia, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal asked UNESCO to recognize Palestine’s status as a state within the organization. Such a status was not recognized by the UNESCO leadership at that time. In the fall of 2011, however, Palestine was accepted as a member of UNESCO.

In July 1998, the General Assembly adopted a new resolution (52/250), which gave “Palestine” additional rights and privileges, including the right to participate in the general debate held at the beginning of each General Assembly session, the right of reply, the right to co-sponsor resolutions, and the right to speak during the debate on Palestinian and Middle Eastern issues. According to this resolution, “the seat of Palestine must be seated immediately after the non-members and before the other observers. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 124 in favor, 4 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, U.S., Federated States of Micronesia), and 10 abstentions.

In September 2010, speaking at the UNGA, US President Barack Obama said that if the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved, “an independent Palestinian state can be part of the UN in a year.

In April 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of the Middle East Peace Process said in its report that the Palestinian Authority is ready to become the government of an independent state.

In September 2011, after reports surfaced that the Palestinian Authority was planning to ask the UN to recognize the state of Palestine as its permanent member, the U.S. promised to veto that decision when the UN Security Council considered the issue. However, on 23 September 2011 Mahmoud Abbas handed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a formal request for Palestine’s membership in the UN as a full member, despite the fact that the US had earlier announced its plans to veto such a decision when the Security Council was considering the issue. The UN Security Council did not support that decision, and in September 2012 the PA leadership appealed to the UN General Assembly with a request to recognize the PA as an “observer state”.

On November 29, 2012, with 138 votes in favor and 9 against and 41 abstentions, the UNGA “accorded the status of a non-member observer state to the United Nations without prejudice to the rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people according to the relevant resolutions and practice.

By 29 November 2012, 132 UN member states had recognized the State of Palestine.

States recognizing the independence of the State of Palestine

States Members of the United Nations

As of July 31, 2019, 138 UN member states (71.5%) had recognized the independence of the State of Palestine, as well as the Holy See, which is an observer at the UN, and the SADR. Recognition of a new state, according to traditional practice in international relations, is usually accompanied by the establishment of diplomatic relations with it.

It should also be noted that some states (marked in the article *) declared their support for the claims and right (by recognizing the borders) of the State of Palestine to establish the borders on June 4, 1967 – that is, the Gaza Strip, the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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In boldface are the permanent member states of the UN Security Council.

Separate colors are assigned to countries that do not recognize the State of Israel and do not have/have severed diplomatic relations with it (see Israeli Foreign Policy).

States such as the Czech Republic and Vanuatu, despite formally recognizing the State of Palestine, voted against its admission to UNESCO in October 2011.

Notes to the table

Notes to the States:

Notes to States_2:

UN Observers
Partly recognized States

Position of other States

Now-defunct States that have recognized independence

A number of now-defunct states at one time also recognized the independence of the State of Palestine.

Relations with international organizations

The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority are represented in various international organizations as a member, associate member or observer. Due to inconsistencies in the sources, in some cases it is impossible to distinguish between the participation of representatives of the NPA, the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian state or the PLO as a non-state party.

In addition, the Palestinian National Authority participates in trade liberalization:

  • Has a customs union with Israel
  • Has a free trade agreement with the EU, EFTA, etc.
  • Is a member of the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
  • participates in the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and the Arab Economic Unity Council
  • Negotiating a free trade agreement with Mercosur

The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority jointly participate in the following international transport treaties in the Arab Mashreq: road, rail and sea.

League of Arab States.

The State of Palestine is currently a member of the Arab League. The Palestine Liberation Organization has been represented there since 1964, as a full member since 1976. After the 1988 Declaration of Statehood, its status was upgraded to full membership under the name “State of Palestine” with the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization acting as “President of the State of Palestine”.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The State of Palestine is currently a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The PLO has been a full member since 1969. After the 1988 declaration of statehood, its status was upgraded to full membership under the name “State of Palestine.” It is also a member of the Islamic Development Bank, an international financial institution established by OIC member states.

UN representation

Diplomatic relations with other states

Many internationally recognized states have diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, some of which have embassies of the State of Palestine, and several of which have opened or are opening diplomatic representations with the PA.

Diplomatic representations of the State of Palestine

Many states that have recognized the independence of the State of Palestine have opened various diplomatic representations and embassies of the State of Palestine, for example:

Diplomatic representations of the Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian National Authority has diplomatic missions in the following states, e.g:

Diplomatic Missions of States under the Palestinian National Authority

In turn, some of the many states that have relations with the PNA also have diplomatic missions to the PNA.

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