World votes for Palestine’s bid for full UN membership

The UN General Assembly voted on Friday in favour of supporting Palestine’s bid for full UN membership.

The resolution, which was proposed in the name of 22 Arab countries, was co-sponsored by about 65 states.

It was approved with 143 votes in favour, nine against and 25 abstentions.Sri Lanka voted in favour.The US, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau and Nauru voted against the resolution.

This move comes amidst growing international support for Palestinian statehood, with Spain, Ireland, and Slovenia announcing plans to recognise Palestine symbolically on May 21.

Despite this growing support, the United States and Israel continue to oppose the resolution, underscoring the significant rifts that persist regarding this matter.

The resolution, introduced by the UAE, said that “the State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations in accordance with Article 4 of the Charter and should therefore be admitted”.

Speaking before the vote on behalf of the Arab Group, the UAE’s ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Abushahab, told the 193 member states that the vast majority of countries in the General Assembly “are fully aware of the legitimacy of the Palestinian bid and the justness of their cause, which faces fierce attempts to suppress it and render it meaningless today”.

Mr Abushahab emphasised that granting Palestine full membership at the UN would send a “powerful message” in support of the two-state solution.

“Fulfilling the UN’s historic obligation towards the Palestinian people is long overdue, but it is never too late.”

Before the vote, Nate Evans, spokesman for the US mission to the UN said in a statement America would be voting “no” on the resolution and encouraged other member states to do the same.

He added that, “should the General Assembly adopt this resolution and refer the Palestinian membership application back to the Security Council, we expect a similar outcome to what occurred in April”, referring to a US veto.

US deputy ambassador, Robert Wood, further clarified Washington’s position.

He said the United States is committed to intensifying its engagement with the Palestinians and the rest of the region to “advance a political settlement” that will create a path to Palestinian statehood.

However, he stressed, the adoption of the resolution does not resolve the concerns about the Palestinian membership application raised in April in the Security Council through the Admissions Committee process.

Palestine’s UN envoy Riyad Mansour said “no words” could capture what the loss and trauma the Palestinians have faced.

They have been pushed to the “very edge of the strip to the very brink of life”, he added.

“Against all odds, we survived. Our flag flies high and proud in Palestine and across the globe and on the campus of Columbia University. The day will come where Palestine will take its rightful place among that community of free nations,” the ambassador said.

“A yes vote is a vote for Palestinian existence. It is not against any state, but it is against the attempt to deprive us of our state.

“That is why the Israeli government is so opposed to it -they oppose our independence and the two-state solution altogether.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the decision to grant Palestine more rights at the UN as “destructive”.

“What would Churchill say if he were alive today? What would Roosevelt think? They are turning in their graves,” he asked.

The UN is granting privileges to the “future terror state of Hamas. It makes me sick,” added Mr Erdan.

The resolution calls on the Security Council to “reconsider the matter favourably” after the US vetoed a widely supported resolution on April 18 that would have paved the way for full UN membership for Palestine.

Twelve Security Council members voted in favour of granting Palestine full UN member status, while the UK and Switzerland abstained.

France, Japan, South Korea and Slovenia backed the resolution despite none of them individually recognising a Palestinian state.

The measure does not entitle the state of Palestine to vote in the General Assembly or to put forward its candidature to UN organs.

But it would allow Palestine to submit proposals and amendments directly, without having to go through another country, as is the case currently.

UN General Assembly resolutions are non-binding in nature, primarily serving as symbolic expressions of global sentiment.

The Gaza war began with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 34,900 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Sri Lanka cast its vote in favour of Palestine’s application for membership in the United Nations.

This decision was made through the United Nations General resolution on admission of new members to the United Nations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized their commitment to peace and alleviation of human suffering in the region.