Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


U.N. votes to upgrade Palestine's status

In a vote at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, the body granted Palestine the title of "non-member observer state". Palestinians celebrated the outcome, while the United States and Israel denounced it. 

By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle NicholsReuters / November 29, 2012

Members of the Palestinian delegation and others join Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by applauding after a vote on a resolution on the issue of upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state passed in the United Nations in New York, Thursday.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Enlarge

UNITED NATIONS

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world body to issue its long overdue "birth certificate."

Skip to next paragraph

The U.N. victory for the Palestinians was a diplomatic setback for the United States and Israel, which were joined by only a handful of countries in voting against the move to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations to "non-member state" from "entity," like the Vatican.

Britain called on the United States to use its influence to help break the long impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Washington also called for a revival of direct negotiations.

There were 138 votes in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions. Three countries did not take part in the vote, held on the 65th anniversary of the adoption of U.N. resolution 181 that partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

Thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip set off fireworks and danced in the streets to celebrate the vote.

The assembly approved the upgrade despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinians by withholding funds for the West Bank government. U.N. envoys said Israel might not retaliate harshly against the Palestinians over the vote as long as they do not seek to join the International Criminal Court.

If the Palestinians were to join the ICC, they could file complaints with the court accusing Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious crimes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote "unfortunate and counterproductive," while the Vatican praised the move and called for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something bound to irritate Israel.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!