This could turn out to be an incredibly important vote that legitimizes Palestine as an official state. The vote is an explicit endorsement from the international community for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, and regaining the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. From the Huff Post:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly before a key vote on Thursday that it “is being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.”
The Palestinians were certain to win U.N. recognition as a state, but Israel and the United States warned it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.
Abbas said the vote is the last chance to save the two-state solution.
The General Assembly vote was certain to succeed, with most of the 193 member states sympathetic to the Palestinians. Several key countries, including France, recently announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state.
Palestinians say the successful vote will strengthen their hand in future talks with Israel, which has lambasted the recognition bid as an attempt to bypass such negotiations.
Jubilant Palestinians crowded around outdoor screens and television sets at home Thursday to watch the United Nations vote.
With Israel and the US set to vote against it, their opinion becomes ever more isolated in a sea of support for Palestinian self determination. The US claims that the correct path to statehood is to resume peace negotiations with Israel first – a ridiculous stipulation that no country would ever accept. Israel is voting against the move because, amongst other things, it fears the Palestinians will take them to the International Criminal Court for the illegal occupation of its territory and war crimes against its people – a humiliating prospect given the concept of a permanent international court was set up partly in response to the crimes of the Nazis in World War II.
It should be a given that the Palestinians are allowed to negotiate with Israel on an equal footing, and their international legitimacy is a key part of this. The vote won’t make much difference in the short term, but as the international community embraces Palestine as a legitimate state, it will get harder and harder for the US and Israel to dismiss their grievances.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.