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The United Nations General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution declaring that Palestinians qualify for full membership at the United Nations, a highly symbolic decision that reflects growing global solidarity with the Palestinians. and constitutes a reproach to Israel and the United States.

The resolution was approved by 143 votes to 9, with 25 abstentions. The Assembly applauded warmly after the vote.

But the resolution does not mean that a Palestinian state will soon be recognized and admitted to the United Nations as a full member. The Assembly can only grant full membership with the approval of the Security Council and, if history is any guide, the United States would almost inevitably use its veto to defeat such a measure, as they did in April.

Although a majority in the General Assembly has long supported the creation of a Palestinian state, the resolution was the first time the body had voted on the issue of full membership. The resolution declares that “the State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations” under the rules of its charter and recommends that the Security Council reconsider the issue with a favorable outcome.

The resolution was prepared by the United Arab Emirates, current chair of the United Nations Arab Group, and sponsored by 70 countries. The United States voted no, as did Hungary, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and Nauru.

“The vast majority of countries in this room are fully aware of the legitimacy of the Palestinian candidacy and the righteousness of their cause, which today faces fierce attempts to suppress it and make it lose all meaning” , said UAE Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab as he presented the resolution on behalf of the Arab Group.

Although largely symbolic, the resolution grants the Palestinians new diplomatic privileges. Palestinians can now sit among member states in alphabetical order; they can speak at General Assembly meetings on any subject instead of being limited to Palestinian affairs; they can submit proposals and amendments; and they can participate in United Nations conferences and international meetings organized by the Assembly and other United Nations entities.

The 193-member General Assembly took up the issue of Palestinian membership after the United States in April vetoed a resolution submitted to the Security Council that would have recognized full membership of a Palestinian state. While a majority of Council members supported the move, the United States said recognition of Palestinian statehood should be achieved through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Frustration with the United States has simmered for months among many senior U.N. officials and diplomats, including allies like France, because Washington has repeatedly blocked ceasefire resolutions. fire in the Security Council and strongly supported Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, even as civilian suffering increased.

“The United States is resigned to another bad day at the U.N.,” said Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert for the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organization. But he added that the resolution “gives a boost to the Palestinians without creating division over whether or not they are members of the UN.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, told the Assembly before the vote that the right of Palestinians to become full members of the United Nations and become a state “is not the subject of negotiations, these are our inherent rights as Palestinians.” He added that a vote against the creation of a Palestinian state was equivalent to a vote against the two-state solution.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, a vocal critic of the U.N., said voting for Palestinian statehood would be tantamount to inviting “a state of terror” into its fold and rewarding “terrorists” who killed Jewish civilians with privileges and called on member states to support it’s “Jew haters”.

Robert A. Wood, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said that while the United States supports a two-state solution as the only way to achieve lasting peace, “the United States remains convinced that unilateral measures to the UN and on the ground will not move things forward. this goal.”

Mr. Wood said that if the Assembly referred the matter to the Council, the result would be the same again, with the United States blocking the move.

The Palestinians are currently recognized by the UN as a non-member observer state, a status granted to them in 2012 by the General Assembly. They do not have the right to vote on General Assembly resolutions or nominate candidates for UN agencies.

France, a close ally of the United States and one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, supported the Palestinian attempt to create a state breaking with the American position at the UN, both in the Council vote and in the Assembly. “The time has come for the United Nations to act to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the two-state solution,” Nicolas de Rivière, French ambassador to the UN, declared on Friday. .

The Assembly session, which was expected to extend into Monday due to the long list of speakers, was not without moments of performative drama.

Mr. Erdan, the Israeli ambassador, held up the photo of Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar, considered the architect of the October 7 attacks on Israel, with the word “President” and then a transparent shredder, inserting a piece of paper inside. and declared that member states were “destroying the UN charter”.

Mr. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, at the end of his speech, raised his fist in the air, visibly holding back tears, and declared “Liberate Palestine.” The Assembly began to applaud.

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