The UN and the Swiss government have accepted requests from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to join 14 international treaties and conventions.
The Swiss government said on Friday that Palestine can accede to the Geneva conventions governing the rules of war and military occupations.
Spokesman of the Swiss foreign ministry, Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, said that the state of Palestine was acceded to the conventions on 2 April. Eltschinger said that all concerned countries were notified about this measure.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that the accession was a “historic day for the Palestinian people.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Abbas had received a letter signed by the head of the Swiss Federation telling him that Palestine is now a party in the Geneva conventions for 1949 and in the additional protocol for 1977.
According to the letter, Erekat said that Palestine would become a full member in another 11 treaties on 2 May. The treaties include the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of children, the convention against torture and an anti-corruption accord.
The State of Palestine would also be a full member of the convention against genocides on 2 July.
Meanwhile, the UN said that the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had agreed on the accession of Palestine to 13 treaties.
In wake of serious difficulties facing the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, Abbas decided to turn to international organisations and sign international treaties.
Israeli media have said that Palestinians are mainly interested in the fourth Geneva convention because it defines the duties of occupying powers and acknowledges the occupation of Palestinian territories.
It also prohibits forced transfer and deportation of populations or individuals, as well as the destruction of movable or immovable property, unless it is made “absolutely necessary by military operations.”
Israeli authorities said this should not be applied in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip because they are no longer claimed by Egypt or Jordan, who ruled them before 1967. In addition, they claim that the Palestinian state has never existed.
Regarding East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities also said it should not be considered an occupied territory because Israel has extended citizenship rights to its Arab residents.