U.N. General Assembly Adopts Resolution in Support of Palestinian Statehood

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution declaring that Palestinians qualify for full-members status at the United Nations, a highly symbolic move that reflects growing global solidarity with Palestinians and is a rebuke to Israel and the United States.

The resolution was approved by a vote of 143 to 9 with 25 nations abstaining. The Assembly broke into a big applause after the vote.

But the resolution does not mean a Palestinian state will be recognized and admitted to the United Nations as a full member anytime soon. The Assembly can only grant full membership with the approval of the Security Council, and if history is a guide, the United States would almost inevitably wield its veto power to kill such a measure, as it did in April.

Even though a majority in the General Assembly have long supported Palestinian statehood, the resolution was the first time the body had voted on the issue of full membership. The resolution declares that “the State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations” under its charter rules and recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter with a favorable outcome.

The resolution was prepared by the United Arab Emirates, the current chair of the U.N. Arab Group and sponsored by 70 countries. The United States voted no, along with Hungary, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and Nauru.

Though largely symbolic, the resolution does provide new diplomatic privileges to Palestinians. Palestinians can now sit among member states in alphabetical order; they can speak at General Assembly meetings on any topic instead of being limited to Palestinian affairs; they can submit proposals and amendments; and they can participate at U.N. conferences and international meetings organized by the Assembly and other United Nations entities.

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