May 18, 2024


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The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the ceasefire talks: live updates

The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the ceasefire talks: live updates

The UN General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution declaring that the Palestinians are eligible for full UN membership status, a highly symbolic move that reflects growing global solidarity with the Palestinians and a rebuke to Israel and the United States.

The resolution was approved by 143 votes to 9, with 25 abstentions. The General Assembly erupted into great applause after the vote.

But the decision does not mean that the Palestinian state will be recognized and accepted for membership in the United Nations as a full member any time soon. The General Assembly can grant full membership only with the approval of the Security Council, and if history is any guide, the United States will inevitably exercise its veto to reject such action, as it did in April.

Although the majority in the General Assembly has long supported the establishment 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 qualifies for membership in the United Nations” under the rules of its Charter, and recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter with a positive outcome.

The resolution was prepared by the United Arab Emirates, the current president of the Arab Group at the United Nations, and 70 countries sponsored it. The United States voted no, along with Hungary, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and Nauru.

UAE Ambassador Mohammed Abu Shehab said, during his speech, “The vast majority of countries in this hall are fully aware of the legitimacy of the Palestinian file and the justice of its cause, which today faces fierce attempts to suppress it and render it meaningless.” Presentation of the resolution on behalf of the Arab Group.

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Although the decision is largely symbolic, it provides the Palestinians with new diplomatic privileges. Palestinians can now sit among member states in alphabetical order; They can speak at General Assembly meetings on any topic instead of being limited to the Palestinian issue. They can make suggestions and amendments; They can participate in United Nations conferences and international meetings organized by the Assembly and other United Nations entities.

The 193-member General Assembly discussed the issue of Palestinian membership after the United States used its veto in April against a Security Council resolution recognizing full membership of the Palestinian state. While a majority of council members supported the move, the United States said recognition of a Palestinian state must be achieved through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Frustration with the United States has been brewing for months among many senior UN officials and diplomats, including from allies like France, because Washington has repeatedly blocked ceasefire resolutions in the Security Council and has strongly supported Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, even as suffering mounts. Civilians.

“The United States has resigned itself to another bad day at the United Nations,” said Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organization. But he added that the decision “gives the Palestinians a boost without causing a collapse over whether or not they are now members of the United Nations.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly before the vote that the Palestinians’ right to full membership in the United Nations and to establish their state “is not up for negotiation, but rather is our inherent rights as Palestinians.” He added that a vote against the establishment of a Palestinian state is a vote against the two-state solution.

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Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan, a vocal critic of the UN, said a vote for a Palestinian state would invite a “state of terror” in its midst and reward “terrorists” who killed Jewish civilians with concessions, and called on member states to support this. It’s “Jew haters.”

Robert A. said: Wood, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said that while the United States supports the two-state solution as the only means to achieve sustainable peace, “the American view remains that unilateral measures at the United Nations and on the ground will not lead to progress.” “This is the goal.”

Mr. Wood said that if the Assembly referred the issue back to the Council, it would have the same outcome again with the United States blocking the move.

The United Nations currently recognizes the Palestinians as a non-member observer state, a status granted to them by the General Assembly in 2012. They are not entitled to vote on General Assembly resolutions or nominate any nominee to UN agencies.

France, a close ally of the United States and one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, has supported the Palestinian effort to establish a state independent of the United States’ position in the United Nations, whether in a vote of the Council or the General Assembly. “It is time for the United Nations to move with the aim of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of a two-state solution,” Nicolas de Rivière, France’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in his speech on Friday. .

The assembly session, which was expected to last until Monday due to the long list of speakers, was not without moments of performative drama.

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Mr. Erdan, the Israeli ambassador, held up a picture of the military leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, considered the architect of the October 7 attacks on Israel, with the word “President,” then a transparent cutting machine, and inserted a piece of paper inside. She said member states were “tearing up the UN Charter.”

At the end of his speech, Mr. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, raised his fist in the air, visibly holding back tears, and said: “Free Palestine.” The assembly erupted in applause.