U.N. vote recognizes state of Palestine - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

U.N. vote recognizes state of Palestine

Posted: Updated:
Palestinians in Ramallah wave Palestinian flags as they watch a large screen showing the U.N. vote on recognizing the Palestinian state, Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed) Palestinians in Ramallah wave Palestinian flags as they watch a large screen showing the U.N. vote on recognizing the Palestinian state, Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

By EDITH M. LEDERER | AP

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians and an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.

The resolution upgrading the Palestinians' status to a nonmember observer state at the U.N. was approved by a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions, in the 193-member world body.

A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation. In the West Bank city of Ramallah, hundreds crowded into the main square waved Palestinian flags and chanted "God is great." Others who had watched the vote on outdoor screens and television sets hugged, honked and set off fireworks before dancing in the streets.

Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned that the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their U.N. status.

The United States immediately criticized the historic vote. "Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path peace," U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the vote "unfortunate" and "counterproductive."

The United States and Israel voted against recognition, joined by Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the General Assembly shortly before the vote "defamatory and venomous," saying it was "full of mendacious propaganda" against Israel. Netanyahu called the vote meaningless.

Abbas had told the General Assembly that it was "being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine." Abbas said the vote is the last chance to save the two-state solution.

After the vote, Netanyahu said the U.N. move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.

Thursday's vote came on the same day, Nov. 29, that the U.N. General Assembly in 1947 voted to recognize a state in Palestine, with the jubilant revelers then Jews. The Palestinians rejected that partition plan, and decades of tension and violence have followed.

The Palestinians still face enormous limitations. They don't control their borders, airspace or trade, they have separate and competing governments in Gaza and the West Bank and they have no unified army or police.

Just before Thursday's vote, Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, warned the General Assembly that "the Palestinians are turning their backs on peace" and that the U.N. can't break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.

The vote had been certain to succeed, with most member states sympathetic to the Palestinians. Several key countries, including France, this week announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state.

Unlike the more powerful U.N. Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly, and the resolution to raise the Palestinian status only required a majority vote for approval.

The vote grants Abbas an overwhelming international endorsement for his key position: establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. With Netanyahu opposed to a pullback to the 1967 lines, this should strengthen Abbas' hand if peace talks resume.

The overwhelming vote also could help Abbas restore some of his standing, which has been eroded by years of standstill in peace efforts. His rival, Hamas, deeply entrenched in Gaza, has seen its popularity rise after an Israeli offensive on targets linked to the Islamic militant group there earlier this month.

Israel has stepped back from initial threats of harsh retaliation for the Palestinians seeking U.N. recognition, but government officials warned that Israel would respond to any Palestinian attempts to use the upgraded status to confront Israel in international bodies.

The Palestinians now can gain access to U.N. agencies and international bodies, most significantly the International Criminal Court, which could become a springboard for going after Israel for alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land.

However, in the run-up to the U.N. vote, Abbas signaled that he wants recognition to give him leverage in future talks with Israel, and not as a tool for confronting or delegitimizing Israel, as Israeli leaders have alleged.

Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub in Ramallah contributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Falling debris from Midtown building

    Falling debris from Midtown building

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:32 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:32:06 GMT
    Emergency personnel are responding to reports of falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. W. 57th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. is closed. SkyFoxHD is headed to the scene.
    Emergency personnel are responding to reports of falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. W. 57th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. is closed. SkyFoxHD is headed to the scene.
  • Summit at City Hall to discuss police-community relations

    Summit at City Hall to discuss police-community relations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:50 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:50:33 GMT
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City will be at the center of a summit held at City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are expected to attend the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island lead Mayor De Blasio to host the forum.
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City will be at the center of a summit held at City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are expected to attend the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island lead Mayor De Blasio to host the forum.
  • Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:43:52 GMT
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
Powered by WorldNow

KTBC FOX 7
119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7777
Fax: (512) 495-7001

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices