UN | Palestinians receive massive but symbolic support for membership

(United Nations) Angering Israel, an overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly ruled Friday that Palestinians deserve full membership in the organization, granting them some additional rights short of ‘real membership, blocked by the United States.


Published at 12:19 p.m.

Updated at 2:27 p.m.

Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS

France Media Agency

“I have stood at this podium hundreds of times, often in tragic circumstances, but none comparable to what my people are experiencing today,” said Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour.

“I have stood at this platform hundreds of times, but never for a vote more important than today, historic,” he added, his voice tight with emotion, while in Ramallah the The Palestinian Authority welcomed a vote which proves that “Palestine […] deserves” to be a full member.

Hamas also welcomed the resolution, seeing it as a “reaffirmation of international solidarity with our people.”

This resolution “will have a significant impact on the future of the Palestinian people”, even if in itself, it “does not do justice to the State of Palestine” which remains an observer, for his part underlined the Ambassador of the Emirates United Arabs Mohamed Issa Abushahab, on behalf of the Arab countries.

Faced with the war in Gaza, the Palestinians, who have had “non-member observer state” status since 2012, relaunched their 2011 request at the beginning of April demanding to become a full member state of the United Nations.

“Rights and privileges”

To succeed, such an initiative requires, before a vote by the General Assembly, a positive recommendation from the Security Council. But the United States vetoed it on April 18.

Even if the General Assembly cannot bypass the Council, the Palestinians have decided to turn to its 193 member states, thus proving that, without the American veto, they would have the two-thirds majority necessary to validate membership.

The resolution presented by the United Arab Emirates was thus adopted by 143 votes in favor, 9 against (United States, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Argentina, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea) and 25 abstentions (notably Canada, the United Kingdom and many members of a divided European Union, such as Germany and Italy).

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PHOTO CHARLY TRIBALLEAU, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

It “notes that the State of Palestine meets the conditions required to become a member” of the UN, and “should therefore be admitted to the Organization”. She thus requests that the Security Council “favorably reconsider the question”.

But the United States, which opposes any recognition outside of a bilateral agreement between the Palestinians and their Israeli ally, warned on Friday that if the issue returned to the Council there would be “an outcome similar to April”.

In this perspective, the text immediately grants “exceptionally and without this constituting a precedent”, a series of “additional rights and privileges” to the Palestinians from 79e session of the Assembly in September.

“Non-productive”

Unambiguously excluding the right to vote and to be a member of the Security Council, this resolution will allow them, for example, to submit proposals and amendments directly, without going through a third country, or to sit among the Member States in alphabetical order .

Even if these measures are largely symbolic, “it is the symbol that is important”, commented Richard Gowan, analyst at the International Crisis Group, referring to a “clear message” thus sent to the Israelis and the Americans.

Israel, whose government rejects the two-state solution, also castigated the resolution.

“The message that the UN is sending to a region filled with pain is: violence pays,” denounced Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on X.

“This makes me sick,” declared Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan at the UN. “With this new precedent, we could see representatives of Daesh or Boko Haram sitting among us here.”

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PHOTO EDUARDO MUNOZ, REUTERS

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan

“You are tearing the Charter to shreds, shame on you!” “, he said, putting his words into words by passing the text of the UN charter through a shredder.

The United States has widely expressed its reservations about the text which its deputy ambassador to the UN Robert Wood described as “non-productive”.

“Unilateral measures at the UN and on the ground” will not allow progress towards lasting peace and a two-state solution, he said, assuring however that the American vote against the text “does not mean opposition to a Palestinian state.

“It is time to mobilize for a political solution,” argued French Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, who voted for this resolution as he did in the Security Council for full membership.

Canada abstains at UN, but opens door to support for Palestinian state

Canada abstained from another UN vote to formally recognize Palestine, while opening the door to support the creation of a Palestinian state before the current conflict ends.

Canada was among 25 countries that abstained and said in a statement that it did not want to reject the proposal entirely because it did not want to support Israel’s efforts to prevent a two-state solution.

In its statement, Canada says it will recognize the State of Palestine “at the time most conducive to lasting peace,” adding that this will not necessarily happen after a final peace agreement with Israel.

“Even if in the past it was said that recognition of a Palestinian state can only come at the end of a process [qui inclut] both states, we recognize that it may have to be done at another stage in this process,” said the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, on Friday, who was visiting West Kelowna. “This is a fundamental shift in Canada’s approach. »

The federal Liberals also announced new sanctions against Hamas and Iran, but have not yet kept their promise made three months ago to sanction West Bank settlers.

The new sanctions, announced today by Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, concern four men in Iran. Ottawa accuses them of providing military training and resources to strengthen Hamas.

The Canadian Press

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