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Annie Gugliotta

Does Palestine pass the state test?

Did Hamas score a big win at the United Nations, or was it actually a win for the much-maligned idea of the two-state solution?

Forgive yourself if you ignored the critical UN vote last week. Like the blaring horns on the streets of New York, many folks tune out the UN as meaningless background noise to the real action in global politics: sound and fury signifying bias. That is a mistake. The controversial May 9 vote on granting Palestine full membership to the UN bears real scrutiny. After all, in plain terms, the vote effectively means recognizing a Palestinian state.

The vote was supported by 143 of the 193 countries that make up the General Assembly – that’s more countries supporting this idea in 2024 than the last time something like this was voted on, back in 2012. Just seven months after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel, Palestine has won more support, not less. And Israel is more isolated, not less. Nine countries, including the US and Israel, voted no, but this next bit is telling: 25 countries, including Canada, abstained. This signals a major shift in Canadian policy, as it has historically voted “no” alongside the US.

What changed, and what exactly was the vote saying about who would represent the Palestine state if it was granted full status– the Palestinian Authority or Hamas? Can there be a Palestinian state with Hamas playing a role? Is the current Israeli government trying to kill the idea of a viable two-state solution?

To find out, I spoke with Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae.

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Women and children wait for food distribution from the United Nations World Food Programme in Thonyor, Leer state, South Sudan, back in 2017.

REUTERS/Siegfried Modola/File Photo

South Sudan customs dispute taxes a long-suffering population

Even as three-quarters of South Sudan’s people face starvation, a squabble between the government and the UN over import taxes is leaving vital aid trucks stuck at the border.

The background: South Sudan’s trade ministry ordered this week that all goods trucks entering the East African country must pay a $300 tax. The measure was meant to ensure that the government got its share of revenue from imports that are often underbilled or misrepresented. There was supposed to be a carveout for UN aid vehicles, but if so, officials at the Ugandan border didn’t get the memo – at least not yet.

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Why the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals are not on track to be financed soon
Why the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals are not on track to be financed soon | Global Stage

Why the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals are not on track to be financed soon

The world faces a sustainable development crisis, and while most countries have strategies in place, they don’t have the cash to back them up. How far off track are we with the financing needed to support the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from quality education and health care to climate action and clean water?

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Greenfield-Thomas addresses a meeting of the Security Council as they consider a US-sponsored resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, on March 22, 2024.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

China and Russia veto US cease-fire resolution for Gaza

Yet another Gaza cease-fire resolution failed in the UN Security Council today – though the US was not responsible for blocking it this time. China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution urging for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war in connection with a hostage deal.

Beijing and Moscow’s ambassadors seemingly took issue with the language of the resolution, contending it didn’t go far enough to demand a cease-fire. The US resolution “sets up conditions for a ceasefire, which is no different from giving a green light to continued killings, which is unacceptable,” said Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN.

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FILE PHOTO: Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint, as Gaza residents face crisis levels of hunger, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City, February 19, 2024.

REUTERS/Kosay Al Nemer/File Photo

As Gazans face starvation, aid organizations struggle to help

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war is dire, and it’s being exacerbated by the convoluted array of logistical and political obstacles that aid organizations are facing.

With nearly two million people displaced from their homes and the specters of starvation and disease looming, here’s a look at the challenges aid organizations face to save lives.

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrives at the UK Artificial Intelligence Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in Britain on Nov. 2, 2023.

Joe Giddens/Pool via REUTERS

The UN takes on AI

Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the creation of a new advisory body to tackle AI. The group has 38 members, including government officials and industry executives, and will be co-chaired by Google’s James Manyika and Carme Artigas, Spain’s official in charge of AI.

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Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing
Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia leaves nuclear test ban treaty in show of public posturing

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.

What can be done by Europe or others to help the 1.7 million Afghan refugees that are now being expelled from Pakistan back into Afghanistan?

Well, sorry to say the answer is not very much can be done. We are delivering humanitarian aid to some extent, and the UN is there to Afghanistan, but to take care of or to help substantially 1.7 million people that are expelled from Pakistan is going to be very difficult. Relationship with the Taliban regime is virtually non-existent, so it's one of these tragedies that are happening at the same time as we have the Gaza War and the Ukraine War.

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Television media broadcast commentaries as delegates arrive to the United Nations 76th General Assembly amid protests on September 21, 2021 in New York City, USA.

John Lamparski/NurPhoto via Reuters

What’s on deck at the UN for Tuesday, September 19?

The comings and goings over on East 42nd street in Manhattan can be hard to pin down, but GZERO Daily has you covered all week.
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