United Nations
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The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday voted in favor of allowing the Palestinian Authority to chair the group of 77 developing nations in 2019, Reuters reported.

The move will allow the PA to act more like a full UN member state during meetings in 2019.

The United States, Israel and Australia voted against Tuesday’s move, which won 146 votes in favor. There were 15 abstentions. 29 countries did not vote.

“We cannot support efforts by the Palestinians to enhance their status outside of direct negotiations. The United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state,” US Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the General Assembly.

“We strongly oppose the Palestinians’ election as chair of the G77 as well as this so-called enabling resolution,” he added. “Only UN member states should be entitled to speak and act on behalf of major groups of states at the United Nations.”

Commenting on the vote, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US “does not recognize a Palestinian state, notes that‎ no such state has been admitted as a UN Member State, and does not believe that the Palestinians are eligible to be admitted as a UN Member State. The US strongly opposes the Palestinian election as Chair of the G77, as well as the so-called enabling resolution in the UN General Assembly.”

“The Palestinians are not a UN Member State or any state at all. The United States will continually point that out in our remarks at UN events led by the Palestinians. Today’s UN mistake undermines the prospects for peace by encouraging the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations. In fact, today’s vote does nothing to help the Palestinian people,” said Ambassador Haley.

The PA has unilaterally joined international organizations in recent years as part of the diplomatic war it has been waging against Israel and its attempts to achieve international recognition as a state while bypassing peace talks.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the “state of Palestine” when it upgraded the PA’s UN observer status to non-member state.

The status upgrade has allowed the PA to participate in some General Assembly votes and join some international bodies. However, as a non-member state the PA cannot speak in meetings until after member states, diplomats said.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution approved on Tuesday allows the PA to procedurally operate like a member state when acting on behalf of the G77 and China - making statements, submitting and co-sponsoring proposals and amendments, giving rights of reply and raising points of order.

In recent years the PA has also joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has attempted to push for an investigation of alleged “Israeli war crimes” in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

It has also joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as well as the Geneva-based UN trade organization UNCTAD, Vienna-based industrial development agency UNIDO and the Chemical Weapons Convention.