The UN votes to recognise Palestine as the world’s 194th state


welcome palestine

Only 9 countries – Israel, the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands voted against this.

138 countries including France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and most of Europe – despite intense US pressure  – voted for Palestine.

Does it matter?

Yesterday a friend – with regret – doubted that it would help much. Another point of view is that in theory, the vote puts Palestine on equal footing with Israel, so that future talks would be conducted between two states, rather than between a military occupier and a people under occupation.

It could enable Palestinians to charge Israel with war crimes or contest its ongoing settlement building on war-won land at the International Criminal Court. Senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official Hanan Ashrawi says that she came under intense pressure, mostly from Britain, to pledge that the PLO would not sue Israeli officials at the ICC.

Avaaz believes that this move shows the US and Israel that if they do not engage in good faith, the Palestinians and the world are prepared to move forward without them. It’s a more balanced basis for real peace talks and the best alternative to the violence Israel’s government and Hamas perpetrated recently in Gaza.

A slanted (?) BBC radio commentary says that most people did not stay up to celebrate

But Associated Press reports people crowding into the main square waving Palestinian flags and others who had crowded around outdoor screens and television sets to watch the vote hugged, honked and set off fireworks before going out to dance in the streets.

Illogical stance of Britain’s foreign minister

Despite the obvious failure of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process to date, foreign minister William Hague told MPs: “We pointed out that a UN resolution would be depicted by some as a move away from bilateral negotiations with Israel.”

Financial threats from Israel and US senators

Israel could suspend the monthly transfer of millions of dollars in tax rebates it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, a punitive step it has taken in the past. In Washington, a bipartisan group of senators warned the Palestinians they could lose U.S. financial support of millions of dollars a year and risk the shutdown of their Washington office if they use their enhanced U.N. status against Israel.

Avaaz’ well-expressed conclusion:

“65 years ago today, the UN recognized the state of Israel, beginning a path to the establishment of a safe home for the Jewish people. Today the Palestinians take a step down the same path, and gain a dignity in the eyes of the international community that they have been denied for a generation. And from that dignity we can build the foundations of peace”.#




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