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UN Recognizes 'Palestine' with Overwhelming Majority

138 countries vote in favor of accepting 'Palestine' as non-member observer state. Ayalon: This is a historic defeat for Palestinians.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/29/2012, 10:54 PM / Last Update: 11/30/2012, 12:05 AM

Abbas at UN
Abbas at UN
Reuters

As expected, the United Nations passed a resolution on Thursday evening recognizing Palestine as a non-member observer state. This status has only been accorded to the Vatican until now.

138 countries voted in favor of the resolution, nine countries voted against it, and 41 countries abstained.

Shortly before the vote, Palestinian Authority (PA) Head Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations. As he took the stage, Abbas launched his usual attack on Israel, accusing the Jewish State of attacking PA Arabs and carrying out ethnic cleansing.

As usual, Abbas did not condemn the rocket fire by Gaza terrorists on southern Israel.

"Palestine comes today to the General Assembly because it believes in peace and because its people, as proven in past days, are in desperate need of it,” he said, insisting that recognizing “Palestine” as a non-member observer state is “the last chance to save the two-state solution."

"We have heard and you too have heard specifically over the past months the incessant flood of Israeli threats in response to our peaceful, political and diplomatic endeavor for Palestine to acquire non-member observer state in the United Nations,” said Abbas. “And, you have surely witnessed how some of these threats have been carried out in a barbaric and horrific manner just days ago in the Gaza Strip.

“We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process. On the contrary, our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in occupied east Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement."

Abbas claimed that "We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine. We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel's policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace. Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.

"We will accept no less than the independence of the state of Palestine, with east Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194, as per the operative part of the Arab Peace Initiative,” he stressed.

“Every voice supporting our endeavor today,” said the PA Chairman, “is a most valuable voice of courage, and every state that grants support today to Palestine's request for non-member observer state status is affirming its principled and moral support for freedom and the rights of peoples and international law and peace.

"The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine."

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Thursday that "this is a day of historic defeat for Palestinians," and called Abbas a "diplomatic terrorist."