Palestine gets overwhelming world support for UN membership

Pakistan says there will come a day when Israel will be held accountable for crimes it is committing in Palestine, especially in Gaza.

Mumtaz Hussain
NEW YORK:  Palestine received an overwhelming support at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to become a full UN member with its members recommending to the Security Council to reconsider the application after it was vetoed by the United States last month.
The Palestinian bid garnered 143 votes in its support, nine against, including the US, with 25 member countries abstaining. The voting by the 193-member General Assembly showed world support for the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member.

The UNGA resolution will give the Palestinians additional rights and privileges like a seat among the UN members in the assembly hall but they will not be granted a vote. Palestine is currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012.

The resolution, “determines that the State of Palestine … should therefore be admitted to membership” and it “recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably.” The UNGA voted in support of the Palestinian effort to become a full UN member seven months after Israel launched a war after a daredevil attack by Hamas.
“We want peace, we want freedom,” Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour told the assembly before the vote. “A yes vote is a vote for Palestinian existence, it is not against any state. … It is an investment in peace.”



Before the voting, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram while addressing the session said Israel had refused the calls by UN General Assembly, the Security Council and even its patrons and friends to halt the massacre of innocents and accept an immediate ceasefire. It has now initiated its assault on Rafah, which the UN Secretary-General has rightly warned, “would be a strategic mistake, a political calamity, and a humanitarian nightmare.

“Indeed, there will come a day, when Israel will be held accountable for the crimes it is committing in Palestine, especially in Gaza today. And, we should work on holding Israel and its leadership accountable for these crimes,” he told the special session of the assembly that passed the resolution calling for grant of membership to Palestine.

“Yet, we heard today insults hurled at the United Nations, at this Assembly and its member states by the Israeli representative. This is an arrogance of the aggressor, and reflects the impunity of the occupier -occupier of the land for over 70 years, trampling the inherent and the Charter given rights of Palestinian people to self –determination. We hope that the Assembly would appropriately respond to such insults.”

He said the General Assembly was asked to take a first step towards a final settlement of the conflict – an important step to rectify the historic injustice against the Palestinian people. It was as a result of this Assembly’s vote in 1947 that Palestine was partitioned between Israel and a Palestinian State. Yet, only Israel is a member of the UN. The Palestinian people have been denied their right to self-determination since 1947. And, after 1967, they have been obliged to live under Israel’s brutal occupation.

The General Assembly can partially redress this historic injustice by admitting Palestine as a full member of the United Nations. It meets all the criteria of membership. Its membership enjoys the support of the vast majority of UN Member States. It is regrettable that Palestine’s membership of the UN has been blocked in 2011 and again two weeks ago by the negative vote of one permanent member of the Security Council.

The ambassador said the adoption of the resolution will be a partial yet vital step towards redressing the historic injustice against the people of Palestine. It will reflect a political reality, which would facilitate the revival of a peace process to realize the universally agreed objective of creating a two-State solution, the objective of establishing a viable and contiguous Palestinian State along the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds as its capital.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood said, “Our vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood. We have been very clear that we support it and seek to advance it meaningfully. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that statehood will only come from a process that involves direct negotiations between the parties.”
The United Nations has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war with neighboring Arab states.

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