General Assembly vote at UN upgrades Palestinian status

The United Nations has voted overwhelmingly to recognise a Palestinian state.

The vote, which was taken at a meeting of the body in New York on Thursday, represents a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but a diplomatic defeat for the US, with 138 countries voting in favour of the upgrade.

Nine countries voted against it and 41 others abstained…

The new status is an indirect recognition of the Palestinians’ claims on statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. It allows them to join a number of UN agencies, as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Immediately after the results were announced, US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice reiterated the US opposition – blah, blah, blah…

The US and Israel voted against recognition, joined by Canada, the Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama…

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon renewed his call for the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

“Today’s vote underscores the urgency of the resumption of meaningful negotiations,” Ban said.

“My position has been consistent all along. I believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to their own independent state. I believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security with its neighbors. There is no substitute for negotiations to that end…”

There were celebrations in cities across the West Bank, as well as in Gaza, where the Hamas government offered tepid support for the bid and allowed backers to express their solidarity with the move.

In Bethlehem, fireworks were shot into the night sky, and churches rang their bells at midnight to mark the occasion.

Israel has functioned as a client for the United States in every region of the world. The rationales offered by the US, today, aren’t any different from excuses rolled out for every land grab, every act of imperial arrogance over decades.

The reaction from most of the world puts the lie to our government’s poppycock self-portrayal as the heart of democracy and liberation. The United States played a role in the UN General Assembly perfectly comparable to that of Republicans in our Congress. And just as deserving of contempt.

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