On Thursday, November 29 Palestine received an upgraded status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.” Despite opposition from the United States and Israel, Palestine is hopeful that this new status will give them leverage in their conflict with Israel. There were 9 opposing votes versus 139 in favor, with 41 abstentions.
This new status comes at a critial time for Palestine in Israel. Last week the conflict between these two states made international news as airstrikes and rocket launches threatened the stability of the region. Although a “non-member observer state” is not full membership recognition, it is a giant step for Palestine in the global community. This new status was described by Palestinian Authority President Moahmoud Abbas as a “last chance to save the two-state solution.”
However, not all members supported this vote on Thursday. Hillary Clinton denounced the decision, as it “places further obstacles in the path to peace.” Israeli officials clearly disagreed with the new status. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that: “No decision by the U.N. can break the 4,000 year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.”
Irrespective of whether they support the new status of Palestine, many urge the leaders to commit to a negotiated peace. Israel’s Defense Minister stated, “I don’t believe that these kinds of sanctions will bring them to a moment of truth where they sit around a table and look at each others eyes and decide that the game is over, they can’t stand it anymore, they are going to give up their nuclear intention.”
The question now is: will this new status of Palestine make an impact? Susan Rice, the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, warned that “today’s vote should not be misconstrued by an as constituting eligibility for U.N. membership.” Furthermore Rice asserted that direct negotiations are required in order to facilitate real peace in the region. Mark Regev, an Israeli spokesperson, characterized the new status as a “political theater.”
Do you support or oppose Palestine’s new status? Is this a step towards full membership for Palestine? Do you agree that this new development will aid peace in the Middle East?