UN General Assembly Overwhelmingly Supports Palestine's Right to Full Membership

The UN General Assembly voted 143-8 in favor of granting Palestine full membership, requesting the Security Council to reconsider its application. The historic vote reflects growing global support for a two-state solution and increased pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

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Muthana Al-Najjar
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UN General Assembly Overwhelmingly Supports Palestine's Right to Full Membership

UN General Assembly Overwhelmingly Supports Palestine's Right to Full Membership

In a significant development on May 11, 2024, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of granting the State of Palestine full membership and requesting the Security Council to reconsider Palestine's application for membership. The resolution, which affirms Palestine's right to obtain full UN membership, was adopted by a majority vote of 143 countries in favor, with only 8 countries, including Israel, opposing the resolution and 25 countries abstaining.

Why this matters: This historic vote reflects a growing global consensus on the need for a two-state solution and increased international pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories. The outcome may also influence the US's stance on Palestinian statehood, potentially paving the way for a shift in the regional power dynamic.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which chaired the Arab Group for the month of May, presented the resolution during an Emergency Special Session of the UNGA. The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the historic resolution, calling it a "historic step towards the path towards peace and achieving the two-State solution." The ministry reiterated the UAE's commitment to reinforcing peace and justice, safeguarding the rights of the Palestinian people, and establishing an independent sovereign Palestinian State, in accordance with UN resolutions and relevant agreements aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The vote reflects growing global support for Palestine's full membership in the UN, with many countries expressing outrage over the escalating death toll in Gaza. Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour welcomed the resolution's strong support, saying, "No words can capture what such loss and trauma signifies for Palestinians, their families, communities, and for our nation as a whole." He noted that 144 countries have now recognized the state of Palestine.

However, Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan vehemently opposed the resolution, accusing UN member nations of not mentioning Hamas' October 7 attack and seeking to reward "modern-day Nazis" with rights and privileges. Erdan warned that if an election were held today, Hamas would win, cautioning UN members that they were about to grant privileges and rights to the future terror state of Hamas.

The renewed push for full Palestinian membership in the UN comes amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which has put the more than 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict at center stage. According to Gaza health officials, over 34,000 people have been killed in the current hostilities. The United States has made clear that it will block Palestinian membership and statehood until direct negotiations with Israel resolve key issues, including security, boundaries, and the future of Jerusalem. The US vetoed a widely-backed Security Council resolution on April 18 that would have paved the way for full UN membership for Palestine.

While the UNGA vote is a significant milestone reflecting global opinion on Israel's war on Gaza and Palestinian statehood, the final approval for full UN membership lies with the Security Council, where the US has veto power. The question remains whether the moral weight of global opinion, as demonstrated by the support of 143 nations, can pressure the US to reconsider its stance on this critical issue. As the international community intensifies regional and international efforts to achieve peace and the two-State solution, the implications of this historic vote on Palestine's current non-member Special Observer status and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain to be seen.

Key Takeaways

  • UN General Assembly votes 143-8 to grant Palestine full membership and requests Security Council reconsideration.
  • This historic vote reflects growing global consensus on two-state solution and pressure on Israel to end occupation.
  • UAE presents resolution, calling it a "historic step towards peace and achieving the two-State solution."
  • 143 countries now recognize the State of Palestine, with many expressing outrage over Gaza's escalating death toll.
  • Final approval for full UN membership lies with Security Council, where US has veto power.