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Palestinians win UN State Recognition

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Posted by on Friday, November 30, 2012, 8:46
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The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, handing a major triumph to president Mahmud Abbas in the face of fierce US and Israeli opposition.

UN

UN

Abbas demanded the United Nations give a “birth certificate” to a Palestinian state and was rewarded with the backing of 139 countries.

Only nine members heeded Israeli warnings that the move could lead to more violence and voted against. Forty-one abstained.The vote lifts the status of the Palestinian Authority from an observer entity to a “non-member observer state” with the same status as the Vatican.

Even though it is not a full member it can now join UN agencies and potentially join the International Criminal Court. Abbas, who embraced his foreign minister after the vote and was given repeate standing ovations, said the vote was “the last chance to save the two-state solution.”

In a 22-minute speech laced with references to Israel’s assault this month against rockets fired from Gaza, Abbas said Palestinians would accept “no less than the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He added: “We must repeat here once again our warning: the window of opportunity is narrowing and time is quickly running out. The rope of patience is shortening and hope is withering.” Abbas said UN members had to “issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine.”

“We will act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace,” he said.

The vote comes 10 days after a ceasefire ended a brief but bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that holds sway in the Gaza Strip and is a rival of Abbas and his West Bank-based Fatah faction.

The landmark General Assembly meeting was held on the 65th anniversary of a UN resolution on the division of the Palestinian territories into a two-state solution that Ban said “remains tragically unfulfilled.”Success gives the Palestinians access to UN agencies and treaties but there are divided opinions over whether they will be able to automatically join the ICC.

US law prohibits funding for any international body recognizing a Palestinian state. Washington has warned Abbas he risks losing around $200 million in aid, which is blocked in the US Congress.

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