UN Overwhelmingly Supports Palestinian Status Upgrade

On the 65th anniversary of the UN vote to partition British Palestine, the General Assembly recognized Palestine as a nonmember observer state like the Vatican.

At a time when the Palestinians are deeply divided, with those in the Gaza Strip recovering from the latest conflict with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations to upgrade Palestine’s status. The vote was largely symbolic, but clearly showed that support for Israel has continued to decline. The vote also shows the decline of U.S. influence in the world. (Update to our post on “Palestinian Statehood: Will It Bring Peace?”)

Margin widens

The BBC reported in its article “Palestinians Win Upgraded UN Status by Wide Margin”:

“The UN General Assembly has voted to grant the Palestinians non-member observer state status—a move strongly opposed by Israel and the US.

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the assembly the vote was the ‘last chance to save the two-state solution’ with Israel.

“Israel’s envoy to the UN said the bid pushed peace process “backwards,’ while the US said the move was ‘unfortunate.’

“The assembly voted 138-9 in favour, with 41 nations abstaining.”

Magnitude of Israeli defeat

Israeli-based Haaretz reported:

“As the hours wore on Thursday, the magnitude of the Israeli defeat in the United Nations General Assembly became continually clearer. One after another, the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office received reports from Israeli embassies in Europe that countries were changing their votes at the last minute and leaning toward the Palestinians. A few hours before the vote, officials in Jerusalem understood that Israel was left without any Western support except for the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic.

“‘We lost Europe,’ said a senior Foreign Ministry official. The erosion of Israeli support and shift to the Palestinians started a few days ago in France. President Francois Hollande’s words at a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris a month ago, in which he expressed doubts about the Palestinian move in the UN, disappeared as if he never spoke them.”

Possible outcomes

The Telegraph reported:

“The Palestinians’ upgraded status would also allow them to join the International Criminal Court, where they could try and accuse Israel of war crimes, or the International Court of Justice, that deals with territorial disputes, a key sticking point in negotiations. Leaders have however said they would not do anything to antagonise the Israelis unnecessarily.”

For more background, see our article “Middle East Conflict.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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