Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

UN votes to recognize Palestinian state

Seen as rebuke to U.S., Israel

  • Print

The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a victory decades in the making for the Palestinians after years of occupation and war. It was a sharp rebuke for Israel and the United States.

A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation, as the final vote was cast.

In an extraordinary lineup of international support, more than two-thirds of the world body's 193 member states approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a non-member observer state. It passed 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

The historic vote came 65 years to the day after the UN General Assembly voted in 1947 to recognize a state in Palestine, with the jubilant revellers then Jews.

The Palestinians rejected that partition plan, and decades of tension and violence have followed.

Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their UN status.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, jubilant Palestinians crowded into the main square, waving Palestinian flags and chanting "God is great!" Hundreds had watched the vote on outdoor screens and televisions, and they hugged, honked their horns and set off fireworks as the final vote was cast.

The tally came after a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in which he called the moment a "last chance" to save the two-state solution.

"The General Assembly is being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine," the Palestinian leader declared.

The United States and Israel immediately criticized the vote.

"Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path of peace," UN Ambassador Susan Rice said.

"Today's grand pronouncements will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded."

Calling the vote "meaningless," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of spreading "mendacious propaganda" against Israel in a speech he rejected as "defamatory and venomous."

"The resolution in the UN today won't change anything on the ground," Netanyahu said. "It won't advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather put it further off."

With most UN members sympathetic to the Palestinians, there had been no doubt the resolution would be approved. A state of Palestine has already been recognized by 132 countries, and the Palestinians have 80 embassies and 40 representative offices around the world, according to the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

Still, the Palestinians lobbied hard for Western support, winning over key European countries including France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Ireland, as well as Japan and New Zealand. Germany and Britain were among the many Western nations that abstained.

Joining the United States and Israel in voting "no" were Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird used the podium at the United Nations General Assembly to denounce the world body Thursday for its "utterly regrettable decision" to allow a historic vote on Palestinian statehood.

Baird also suggested Canada will take retaliatory measures against the Palestinians for forcing the statehood issue onto the world stage.

The minister didn't say what Canada was contemplating, but the obvious option would appear to be suspending aid spending to the Palestinians.

Despite Thursday's triumph, the Palestinians face enormous limitations. They don't control their borders, airspace or trade, they have separate and competing governments in Gaza and the West Bank and they have no unified army or police.

The vote grants Abbas an overwhelming international endorsement for his key position: establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

-- The Associated Press, with file from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 30, 2012 A17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google