News / Middle East

Palestinians Achieve ‘State’ Status at UN

Margaret Besheer
The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly endorsed a Palestinian Authority bid to upgrade its status to a "non-member observer state." The Palestinians sought the upgrade, despite stiff opposition and possible negative repercussions from Israel and the United States.

Palestinian UN Statehood Vote
  • Palestinians won non-member observer state status 
  • They previously had non-member observer entity status 
  • The new status allows Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates 
  • State status lets Palestinians apply to join the International Criminal Court and other U.N. agencies
  • A Palestinian bid to gain full U.N. membership failed in 2011
Speaking just ahead of Thursday’s vote, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the General Assembly to “issue a birth certificate” for the state of Palestine.  He is calling on member states to support that bid.

“Every voice supporting our endeavor today is a most valuable voice of courage, and every state that grants support today to Palestine’s request for non-member observer state status is affirming its principled and moral support for freedom and the rights of peoples and international law and peace," said President Abbas.

But the diplomatic victory came without the support of some key countries.
Europe was divided on the issue, with 14 countries supporting the initiative and 12, including Britain and Germany, abstaining.  Only the Czech Republic voted against it in the European bloc.

Palestinians celebrate as they watch a screen showing the U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 29, 2012.Palestinians celebrate as they watch a screen showing the U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 29, 2012.
Palestinians celebrate as they watch a screen showing the U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 29, 2012.
Palestinians celebrate as they watch a screen showing the U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 29, 2012.
Arab and Muslim countries strongly supported the Palestinians, but it is noteworthy that no Arab foreign minister and only two Muslim ones came to personally cast their vote.

One of those foreign ministers was Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoglu. He gave an impassioned speech, garnering applause throughout.

“Let me be clear, our vision for justice, international order and human rights will not be achieved till the moment we actually see the flag of the state of Palestine standing side-by-side with ours as a full member of the United Nations, and that day will come soon!" said Davutoglu.

The United States firmly opposed the resolution. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said after the vote that the Palestinians' new status should not be misconstrued as constituting eligibility for full U.N. membership, and does not establish that Palestine is a state.

“Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded," said Rice.

Israel also opposed the initiative. U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said the Palestinians' new status will not advance peace or change the situation on the ground, nor will it change the Jewish people’s connection to Israel, which is thousands of years old.

“In fact, today you asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state," said Prosor.

After the vote, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters the Palestinians feel ‘strengthened and empowered’ by their victory, and more than determined to pursue negotiations with Israel.

In the Palestinian territories, there was great celebration after the vote. But their joy could be short-lived if there are economic and political repercussions. The U.S. Congress could cut funding to the Palestinian Authority, as well as to the U.N. organizations they join.

Israel also could retaliate by holding back tax money it collects and distributes to the Palestinian Authority, or by expanding Jewish settlements in Arab areas.

But it also could have the effect of adding a new urgency for the parties to return to the negotiating table to restart the moribund peace process and resolve final status issues.

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Comment Sorting
by: gul from: Pakistan
December 01, 2012 12:23 AM
congratulations Palestinians. finally u people got a status in UN.i m really happy .

by: NVO from: USA
November 30, 2012 11:40 AM
. But the Bible is clear that the Lord God will judge all nations who divide Land of Israel. "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land." (Old Testament Book of Joel, chapter 3, verses 1 and 2)

by: Michael from: USA
November 30, 2012 9:43 AM
Americans are going to have to do alot of soul-searching to prepare for the future conflict between tradition and what is required duty to follow international law

by: Shervani Ma
November 30, 2012 9:42 AM
Israel had been issued its own birth certificate in a decision by the same body 65 years ago .

International community must welcome this move ." VOICE OF MAJORITY IS THE VOICE OF GOD "

by: NVO from: USA
November 29, 2012 10:31 PM
Fact. The Land of Israel was given by God to the descendants of Abraham as an everlasting possession: "The Lord appeared to Abram and said, 'To your descendants I will give this Land'" (Genesis 12:7). God further said to Abraham: "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" (Genesis 17:7-8).

Fact.Even though Abraham had many sons, the Land of Israel wasn't given to Ishmael, or to any of the other sons of Abraham, but only to Isaac: "Abraham said to God, 'Oh that Ishmael might live before You!' But God said 'No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him'" (Genesis 17:18-19). God rejected Abraham's request that Ishmael be the heir of the covenant, and appointed Isaac instead. Years later the Lord God appeared to Isaac and said, "to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 26:3-4). Knowing that Isaac was the heir of the covenant, which included the Land of Israel, Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. He gave gifts to his other sons, but he sent them away to the lands of the east, not wanting the heir of the everlasting covenant to have rivalry over the Land of Israel from his siblings (Genesis 25:5-6).

Fact.Even though Isaac had two sons, the Land wasn't given to Esau, but to Jacob: One night Jacob had a dream while fleeing from his brother Esau. In his dream the Lord said to him, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the Land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants." (Genesis 28:13). God later appeared to Jacob and said to him, "the Land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the Land to your descendants after you" (Genesis 35:11-12). This promise deeds the Land of Israel to the descendants of Jacob - the Jewish people of today.

by: Jack Hackman from: Phoenix USA
November 29, 2012 9:59 PM
The West Bank was NEVER even thought of when Jordan was the owner. Israel won the West Bank in a war that was planned to wipe out Israel. As soon as the area was under Israel law the muslims would not stand for being under Israel law..So the arabs changed their name to palestinians and wanted the West Bank for a "state".Israel gave up Gaza. The muslim terrorists took over and began sending rockets into Israel. So it's no surprise Israel will not allow terrorist groups to be next door. The West Bank IS Israel..get over it.

by: Hollister from: hawaii
November 29, 2012 9:48 PM
How could the US have possibly voted no? Who said to do that and why? I am so glad the voice of the people of other nations were shared.

by: john george from: columbus ohio
November 29, 2012 9:29 PM
what a bad, retarded move! israel is surrounded by moslem countries, how many... 16? how dare you vote moslems another country! they, moslems, want the world and will start ww3 to get it! you say no? your as insane as they are! i back israel. i'm not a jew, i don't like the jews here, but, israel i respect to no end! if you only knew what i know. i will just say this; israel is your front line to defend you and yours against moslem aggression. not aggressive? are you blind or just plain stupid? name me one moslem state safe for any american or, better yet, any western person? get it together you stupid donkeys! john george

by: Anonymous
November 29, 2012 6:52 PM
Disgusted in my Canadian Governments decision to vote no...
Why doesnt our government ask us the people what we want, and not what is on "Their Agenda".

Good for the Palestinian people, about time they have been recognized. What Israel does to Palestinian people is disgusting, and Israel has always oppressed those people. Its time the world learn respect for others.

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