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Palestine Given A Boost At The UN

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Sixty-five years on since the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition a territory in the Middle East into a Jewish state and an Arab State, the state of Palestine has been officially recognised by the UN.

While the state of Israel was admitted as a member of the UN back in 1949, it took the very people that created the Arab state over 60 years ago to recognise their creation. In that time countless lives have been lost on all sides over a war that could possibly have been avoided (or at the very least contained) had an official recognition of the state been given.

It has to be mentioned that originally, when the UN voted to partition the region into two states, the Arab Higher Committee rejected it while the Jewish leadership accepted it.

Over the next sixty plus years several wars were fought in the region between the newly formed state of Israel and its neighboring Arab countries. As these wars progressed Israel continued to accumulate more and more land.

Fast forward to 2012 and the world is finally welcoming Palestine as an official state. In an overwhelming show of support; 138 countries voted in favour, 9 voted against and 41 abstained.

While the majority of the General Assembly showed their support for the recognition, it is of little surprise that Israel voted against. What is a little disappointing is the US’ decision to vote against Palestine. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, explained why the US voted against the resolution, “Today’s unfortunate and counter-productive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace.”

Earlier in the year Barack Obama explained that they felt the recognition of the state of Palestine by the UN would deter future peace talks with Israel.

The office of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said “by going to the UN , the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel and Israel will act accordingly.” Of course, what this means remains to be seen.

While Palestine has been recognised, they are still not a full member state but are instead bestowed with a non-member observer status. This will mean that they can, at any time, submit an application to the UN for full membership. Earlier in the year Mohammed Abbas, the Palestinian President, planned on doing so until the US promised to veto any such application.

Today’s vote means Palestine has access to numerous UN organisations including the International Criminals Court. This is something Israel has strongly opposed, while many Palestinians feel it is a step to investigating the allegations of human rights crimes being committed by Israel. The vote is an indirect recognition of Palestine’s claim of statehood on the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Regardless of what the future holds, the people of Palestine are out on the street rejoicing for what they can only hope will be a step towards permanent peace.

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