Palestine Becomes 'Non-Member U.N. Observer State' after Receiving 138 Votes at General Assembly

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The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, giving a major diplomatic triumph to President Mahmoud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel.

The 193-member assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions for the resolution which enables the Palestinians to join U.N. agencies and sign international treaties.

Shortly before the vote, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded the United Nations issue a "birth certificate" for a Palestinian state, saying U.N. recognition was a last chance for peace with Israel.

Abbas was given a standing ovation at the start and end of a 22-minute speech to the U.N. General Assembly in which he said he wanted to "breathe new life" into efforts to reach a settlement with Israel.

Abbas said U.N. members had to "issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine."

"The international community now stands before the last chance to save the two-state solution," Abbas said, in a speech which made repeated references to Israel's military assault this month against Gaza.

"There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded that there is an occupation that must come to an end," Abbas declared.

The United States has said the resolution will not help a return to talks, but Abbas said the initiative was "aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation" for success.

Abbas said the Palestinians would accept "no less than the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital"

But he added: "We must repeat here once again our warning: the window of opportunity is narrowing and time is quickly running out. The rope of patience is shortening and hope is withering."

The Palestinian leader did not make any reference to the possibility of joining the International Criminal Court -- a major worry for Israel.

But Abbas said the Palestinian Authority would consult with other countries and act "responsibly" after its diplomatic status is bolstered.

"We will act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace," he said.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, called the resolution "so one-sided it doesn't advance peace, it pushes it backward."

"The U.N. resolution will not confer statehood on the Palestinian Authority," Prosor added. The diplomat said that the resolution "will place further obstacles and preconditions to negotiations and peace."

Earlier on Thursday, Abbas was warned by U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon that the Middle East peace process is on "life support" and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said even the U.N. General Assembly vote would not create a new Palestinian state.

Before his speech, in a side meeting, the Palestinian leader heard Ban's warning that only "direct negotiations" between the Palestinians and Israelis could lead to a permanent settlement to the decades-old conflict.

And the Secretary General urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders "to breathe new life into the peace process which is now on life support" because of the deadlock in the peace process between the rivals.

Talks between the two have been suspended since September, 2010 with the Palestinians blaming Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

The vote comes 10 days after a ceasefire ended a brief but bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that holds sway in the Gaza Strip and is a rival of Abbas and his West Bank-based Fatah faction.

The eight-day conflict, which left 174 Palestinians and six Israelis dead, only ended after Hamas and Israel agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire, underlining the Abbas administration's weak position on the ground.

While the international community hailed Egypt's role in seeking the truce, the bloodshed on both sides only served to further harm hopes of a return to a substantive direct dialogue between Israel and Palestinian leaders.

"What is needed now is political will and courage. Leaders must show a historic sense of responsibility and vision. Israelis and Palestinians must break out of the zero-sum mentality," Ban said in New York.

The landmark General Assembly meeting was held on the 65th anniversary of a U.N. resolution on the division of the Palestinian territories into a two-state solution that Ban said "remains tragically unfulfilled."

"We have made very clear to the Palestinian leadership that we oppose Palestinian efforts to upgrade their status at the U.N. outside of the framework" of talks with Israel, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

Israeli leader Netanyahu said Thursday the U.N. decision "won't promote the creation of a Palestinian state, it will distance it."

The bid's success gave the Palestinians access to U.N. agencies and treaties and potentially allowed them to apply to join the International Criminal Court -- a prospect that worries Israel.

Palestinian envoys have said Abbas will not rush to join the court but could use it if Israel does not change its policies on settlements and other matters.

The United States blocked a Palestinian application for full membership of the United Nations that Abbas made in September 2011.

The Palestinian Authority and U.N. agencies admit the Palestinians could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in financing because of the vote. U.S. law prohibits funding for any international body recognizing a Palestinian state.

Washington has warned Abbas he risks losing around $200 million in aid, which is blocked in the U.S. Congress.

Israel is considering freezing the transfer of tax and customs funds it collects for the Palestinians, while one Israeli foreign ministry policy paper even suggested "toppling" the Palestinian Authority.

But ministry spokeswoman Ilana Stein said Israel would most likely not take any punitive measures unless the Palestinians used the upgrade "as a platform for confrontation" at the ICC.

Comments 40
Thumb primesuspect 30 November 2012, 00:16

Mabrook to the Palestinians! It was long overdue and it isn't finished yet.

Thumb bigsami 30 November 2012, 01:56

Alf mabrook.....absolutely right, long overdue!

Missing realist 30 November 2012, 03:16

I found something to agree with you on today.

Thumb beiruti 30 November 2012, 00:23

After what happened with HAMAS and their little war with Israel which indicated that the way forward for the Palestinians was through war, this was very much needed. Abbas is leading a constructive effort in the West Bank and this is a very good pay off for him to have earned diplomatic recognition for the State of Palestine. This is of much greater concern to Israel than all of the rockets of HAMAS.
And it gives hope to the two state solution which is in the long term strategic interest of Israel, ironically.

Thumb lebfrcan 30 November 2012, 00:28

Alf mabrouk, finally!

Thumb ghada12 30 November 2012, 00:53

Yes, alf mabrouk, what pressure Abbas was under yet he still went ahead. Bravo!

Missing beirutbastard00 30 November 2012, 00:55

Cool, maybe they can go home now??

Thumb ghada12 30 November 2012, 02:31

lol we all win

Thumb LebDino 30 November 2012, 01:02

Yup. It is time the Palestinians stop doing what others are "telling them" to do, and start doing things for themselves, like they just did with this vote.

And please, let the Palestinians tell the Hezb folks that they don't speak or act on their behalf. The Palestinians are capable of resolving that conflict with their own leadership and actions, and without interference from others.

Thumb phoenician 30 November 2012, 01:06

Now pack your toyota bick-ub and sling your hook home people.

Missing bigjohn 30 November 2012, 01:21

Abbas and the PNA has been acting as a police force for Israeli occupation. He has been losing popular support in the West bank. This worthless move is to politically rescue him.

Thumb ghada12 30 November 2012, 02:34

you can call it worthless bigjohn and you call it a silly political maneuvre, but I feel very proud of the Palestinians because today, the pen was mightier than the sword.

Missing realist 30 November 2012, 03:15

actualy you are very wrong john, israel went to war few weeks ago precisely because they were very worried about what happened at the UN today and they want to further divide Abbas and Hamas. Israel does not fear small missles that at best kill as many people that die in traffic accidents, israel invaded lebanon in 82 because the PLO at the time accepted the two state solution. These are well documented in books and researches. I advise you to read noam chomsky books on israel. Israel survives on violence and managed enemies that pose no existential threat.

Missing bigjohn 30 November 2012, 20:59

"Israel does not fear small missles that at best kill as many people that die in traffic accidents"...Good point. Why is it only Hamas and HA responsibility to fight Zionist conquerors? If the Arabs re-conquered Spain in the 20th century (Spain belonged to the Arabs for 8 centuries), You think that hundreds of millions of western Europeans would only sit and watch...and collaborate with the main financier (like America)???

Missing beirutbastard00 30 November 2012, 04:37

At the very least palestine is now officially a "country under occupation". The ball is in Israel's court now, if the Israelis want peace now is the time to show it.

Missing gabby9 30 November 2012, 05:38

The way of Fatah will produce more that the was of Hamas.

Missing chouf3 30 November 2012, 06:22

Well done .

Missing beirutbastard00 30 November 2012, 06:50

He's gonna lose the 200mill that's blocked in congres lol

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 07:52

OK, so he got UN recognition. Exactly how is it going to change anything for the ordinary Palestinian on the ground until he agrees to sit down and talk peace with Israel, something he has refused to do for over 2 years?
Great, he can now send out letters with the heading "State of Palestine" instead of "The Palestinian Authority", what is that going to help?
Foreign counties can appoint ambassadors to Palestine, but they'll have to be in Ramallah, not Jerusalem. There are some already.
He must remember, PEACE YOU CAN ONLY GET WITH YOUR ENEMIES NOT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.

Thumb geha 30 November 2012, 08:35

philipo
I disagree with your comments.
this is a major step towards changing the rules of the game. once they move forward and get membership with the ICC Israel will not be able to create new settlements or attack them.
once there is accountability through the ICC Israel will realize they have to seriously stop inhumane acts they have been doing for years.
Israel will be accountable from now on every action they do.

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 10:01

"Israel will be accountable from now on every action they do."
So will the Palestinians, in which case every single rocket which is launched from Gaza into Israel is now a legitimate cause for Israel to declare war on another country, Palestine, - there now being now difference between the moderate faction, Abbas and the terrorist Hamas in Gaza - which has attacked Israel.
"Israel will realize they have to seriously stop inhumane acts they have been doing for years."
Change the first word to Palestine and then remember all the buses blown up in Israel, the first and second intefadas, the terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world.
The accountability will work in both directions.

Thumb geha 30 November 2012, 11:03

philipo
please do not forget that Israel is usurping Palestinian land each day :)
Israel settlements can now be stopped through ICC, and hamas will not need to fight anymore :) major difference.
do not forget the targeted assassinations too :) Israel cannot do that anymore. and if they do not do that no one is going to send rockets into Israel.

Thumb primesuspect 30 November 2012, 19:23

Philippo, now when Hamas or other groups attack settlements (which are illegal) will be attacking areas comprised within the State of Palestine. It's under their jurisdiction...

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 30 November 2012, 09:36

There is no leader in the world that wants a peace treaty than Abbas. Have you looked at the Palestine papers (released by aljazeera)???. This israeli government does not want peace. They want total capitulation by the Palestinians. They keep building settlements for jews on Palestinian land. They say no to a viable palestinian state, no to jerusalem, no to rights of refugees (even a symbolic one). My view, there is no point. Israel is ruled largely by thugs who stay in power by scaring their people of the consequences of what would happen if they make any concesssion. Till the arabs put their act together, the israeli establishment (there ace exceptions) demand only surrender of the palestinians.

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 10:10

"There is no leader in the world that wants a peace treaty than Abbas." - So why has he refused to sit down and talk for over two years?
"Have you looked at the Palestine papers (released by aljazeera)???." Wow, what an unbiased source!!
"no to rights of refugees" 95% of the refugees (a refugee is only one who leaves his home - not their decendents) are dead by now.
What about the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were forced out of the Arab States?
"no to jerusalem". Jerusalem was Jewish 2500 years before Islam came into being. Jews have lived there all the time. Jerusalem is mentioned in ther Bible over 3000 times, in the Koran - 0.
Israel occupied the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt, there has never been a Palestinian state, Israel offered Arafat 97% of the territory at Camp David and he refused. Olmert offered Abbas even parts of East Jerusalem and he refused.
All the Palestinians want is PIECES of Israel not PEACE with Israel.

Thumb primesuspect 30 November 2012, 19:27

Philippo, major difference. The Palestinians have property titles. Do you Jews have theirs? If yes, then there's nothing to argue against their presence and please stop you B.S. there's no such thing as Arabs or Arabism. It's a pure creation of the colonial Britain... Stop labeling people which aren't what you call them.

Missing canadianadam 30 November 2012, 08:33

Mabrook Philisteen. Can we get a UN vote to send Phoenician back to nazi germany.

Missing peace 30 November 2012, 10:56

this proves one thing : that by peaceful actions palestinians can achieve more than by using arms! it s not hamas that could have done this....

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 11:26

How correct you are.
Peace can only come through talks. The quicker they start the better it will be for everyone, in and out of the Middle East.

Missing peace 30 November 2012, 12:39

yes FT nice kiddie, now go back to sleep.....

Missing beirutbastard00 30 November 2012, 15:47

@philipo... Ur an idiot. Plz read on the subject b4 u comment.

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 17:05

I deny your claim as to what I am, but your name states exactly what you are.
I think that in the last 45 years ever since I went to university to read Middle East Geography, History and Politics, I have read enough and continue reading, so I at least, know what I am talking about when I comment.

Missing beirutbastard00 30 November 2012, 15:47

@philipo... Ur an idiot. Plz read on the subject b4 u comment.

Missing anonymetexasusa 30 November 2012, 15:55

Philipo
Why did Abbas not sit down and talk for 2 years - It is annoying how you keep try to pitch this - for the same reason as to why Israel didn't agree to stop settlement expansion during those 2 years.
Descendants of refugees are not refugees - That's your interpretion - the 138 country think otherwise, and the ICC too.
the 850,000 Jewish refugees are always welcomed to return back to their Arab countries - I just read how the Ethiopian president was jumping through hoops to get his last 13,000 Jews from leaving to Israel. In Lebanon they rebuild the Temple in down town Beirut in an attempt to encourage the Lebanese Jews to return.

Missing anonymetexasusa 30 November 2012, 16:04

To Philippo Part 2
In the 1920's following Ottoman empire breakdown - the Society of Nations after consulting with Local people on their aspirations, the Palestinians expressed their aspiration for their own state, to the British were handed by the SN 2 mandates one over Palestine, and the other over Jordan. Whereby Britain was mandated to assist the people of Palestine in building their state. So you see it was already decided by the SN, in the 1920's that Palestinians are a people and are to become a state.
It was not until WW2 influx of Jewish refugees into Palestinian mandated areas, that later in got the british & SN to split Palestine into 2. Jordan was never considered to be the state of Palestinians, that's just pure rubbish Israeli propaganda, and not substantiated by any historical fact.

Missing phillipo 30 November 2012, 17:22

May I suggest that for a start you read the Text of the Agreement Between Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann dated 3rd January 1919.

Missing anonymetexasusa 30 November 2012, 18:02

Philipo
I doesn't matter what 2 people discussed or agreed upon.
What matter is on the ground, Britan was given 2 mandates, one for a Palestinian state, and the other for a Jordanian state...and Britain was assisting in building 2 states...that's why a lot of Palestinians still hold title deeds of their homes and properties with Palestine on them. Now Israel subsequently erased the Land Register that Britain had helped create for Palestinians...But the historical facts on the ground is that a Palestinian state was being built, and later on when massive Jewish refugees became a reality in Palestine mandated areas, it was decided that Palestine is to be split in two, whereby the Jews would be alloted half.

Missing anonymetexasusa 30 November 2012, 18:27

Philipo
Please read the PALESTINE Report
http://www.mideastweb.org/hopesimpson.htm
by British Secretary of State for the Colonies dated Oct 1930 - Note how the report talks about status of Palestine stat, and how it is coping with Jewish immigrant. Note also at the bottom the TABLE OF EQUIVALENTS. whereby LP Palestinian pound exchange value is given against the Sterling Pound.
And you want to deny Palestine Existance....

Missing anonymetexasusa 30 November 2012, 18:33

Oh, i forgot, so that there is no confusion.
The commssioner also mentioned that he visited the other british mandated state Trans-Jordan but he will address its situation in another report..

Missing beirutbastard00 01 December 2012, 02:06

@philipo... So the Jews get to come back after thousands of yrs, but not the Palestinians after one generation?? N don't u think that is pert of the Israeli plan to wait long enough so the new generation of Palestinians don't have a claim to the land??? It amazes me that u don't question the Jewish right of return after many many generations!! U truly understand nothing.