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U.S. unhappy as UN General Assembly adopts resolution to support Palestinian statehood

U.S. unhappy as UN General Assembly adopts resolution to support Palestinian statehood

In a symbolic move, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to support Palestinian statehood thereby qualifying for full member status at the United Nations.

The adoption of the measure, which declared that Palestinians qualify for full-member status, already reflected Israel’s growing isolation.

At a sitting on Friday, the resolution was approved by a vote of 143 to 9 with 25 nations abstaining even when the Assembly broke into a big applause after the voting exercise.

However, the adoption does not mean the Palestinian state will be recognised nor admitted to the United Nations as a full member anytime soon as the Assembly can only grant full membership with the approval of the Security Council.

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Even though a majority in the General Assembly has long supported Palestinian statehood, the resolution was the first time the body had voted on the issue of full membership.

“The State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations” the Assembly declared.

It recommended that the Security Council reconsider the matter with a favourable outcome.

U.S. kicks

However, the United States kicked against the adoption and voted ‘No’ with 7 other countries – Hungary, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and Nauru also supporting America for its stand.

Largely symbolic, the resolution does provide new diplomatic privileges to Palestinians but the country will now sit among member states in alphabetical order.

They can also speak at General Assembly meetings on any topic instead of being limited to Palestinian affairs; they can submit proposals and amendments; and they can participate at U.N. conferences and international meetings organized by the Assembly and other United Nations entities.

In April, the U.S. vetoed a resolution before the Security Council that would have recognised full membership for a Palestinian state after the 193-member General Assembly took up the issue of the country’s membership.

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 ceasefire blockage

Frustration with the United States has been brewing for months among many senior UN officials and diplomats, including from allies such as France because Washington has repeatedly blocked cease-fire resolutions at the Security Council and has staunchly supported Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, even as civilian suffering has mounted.

Richard Gowan, an expert on the United Nations for the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organisation, affirmed that the U.S. was not happy with the resolution.

“The U.S. is resigned to having another bad day at the U.N.,” Mr Gowan said.

He added that the resolution “gives the Palestinians a boost without creating a breakdown over whether they are or are not now U.N. members.”

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