United Nations Vote Recognizes Palestinian Statehood

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state on November 30. Out of the 193 member states of the GA, 138 voted in favor of Palestine, with 41 abstentions and 9 votes against the measure, including the United States and Israel. What is perhaps most surprising about the move was that a large bloc of Western European member states abstained from the vote, refusing to move against Israel, but certainly not helping either.

The move is rejected by Israel as a unilateral effort by Palestine to achieve statehood, while they claim the only legitimate path to that goal is through bilateral negotiations directly between Israel and Palestine. President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority claims that Israel has made that path impossible with a refusal to freeze Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and with offenses like the recent weeklong war in Gaza. As such, the Palestinians have decided to pursue the goal through the UN in what is largely considered a symbolic vote.

The vote itself recognizes Palestine as a legitimate state along the pre-1967 borders; however, since Israel does not recognize the vote, it is unlikely for a viable state to be created. A day after the vote was declared at the UN, Israeli officials declared plans to build an additional 3000 settlement homes on West Bank territory, decreasing the likelihood of a viable Palestinian state if it is followed through.

This has been perceived by many as a diplomatic slap in the face to the peace negotiations and only risks alienating Israel further away from the world. It also places the United States in an awkward position, as it has expressed dissatisfaction with the settlements, and yet was one of the few that stood beside Israel at the UN. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu already have a strained relationship, to say the least; this will complicate maters further. Many countries in West Europe have already not helped the Israelis in the previous vote and may actually deviate even further. Israel is in fact alienating their traditional allies, while providing Abbas and the Palestinians a greater platform to spread their cause.

The UN votes to make Palestine a non-member state, garnering much support from the delegation

As for Palestine itself, this vote does not change much on the ground. Palestinian civilians were not nearly as excited for this vote, as they were with the vote last year to upgrade their status to an observer. Being a non-member state, however, could strengthen their hand in negotiations about the future of Jerusalem and the displacement brought by the settlements, assuming that direct talks ever begin again. What worries Israel, is that Palestine could seek membership in the International Criminal Court, which could allow them a legal option for Israeli war or settlement crimes, if they occur. According to Israeli official Ilana Stein, “Israel will act accordingly,” depending on what steps Palestine decides to take from this point on.

1 thought on “United Nations Vote Recognizes Palestinian Statehood”

  1. this is actually a wordpress format for the online newspaper of the Macaulay Honors College @ CUNY. All the students here have a wordpress account and those who write for the Macaulay Messenger just join the website and submit everything thru it. I’ve also used wordpress fro other things for my university, and its a pretty good system. We all also have our own individual blogs, and i would recommend it, though I am unfamiliar with your other options. I guess you could test around wordpress first, to see if u like it. I hope that helps!

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