Palestine wins historic UN Assembly vote and Gets status of non-member observer state
India votes for resolution; US, Israel oppose bid
UNITED NATIONS (TIP): Palestine overwhelmingly won, November 30, a historic UN General Assembly vote which will upgrade its status to non-member observer state at the world body, a stinging diplomatic setback to the US and Israel that had strongly opposed the bid.
India was among the 138 nations in the 193-member body that voted in favor of the resolution, which accords Palestine recognition as observer state from its current entity status.
The US and Israel were among the nine countries that opposed the resolution, while 41 countries abstained. The Palestinians, led by their President Mahmoud Abbas, cheered exuberantly when the results of the voting were announced.
The delegation held up a Palestinian flag inside the General Assembly hall as members congratulated each other.
Speaking to reporters after the vote, Palestine’s envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour said he hopes to soon see the Palestinian flag flying outside the UN building along with those of the other 193 nations once the opposition to their bid ended at the Security Council.
He said Palestine has always been ready to engage in negotiations to achieve lasting peace.
Addressing the General Assembly before the vote, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said his nation had come to the UN for the vote at a time when it was “still tending to its wounds” from the latest Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.
The vote came on the same day that the UN observed the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians.
Abbas said the UN now had a “moral and historic duty” to “salvage the chances for peace” and “issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine” on an urgent basis.
The vote could enable Palestine to access bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and major human rights violations. Some nations like the UK have said Palestine could use access to the ICC to complain against Israel.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon termed the vote “an important vote” in the General Assembly.
“Today’s vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel,” Ban said in his remarks after the votes were cast.
The US termed the resolution as “unfortunate and counterproductive” and said lasting peace between Israel and Palestine can only be achieved through direct negotiations and not by pressing a “green voting button here in this hall.”