UN Assembly Overwhelmingly Supports Palestinian Bid for Membership

UN Assembly Overwhelmingly Supports Palestinian Bid for Membership

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of endorsing a Palestinian request for full UN membership, recognizing its eligibility and urging the UN Security Council to reconsider the matter positively.

The assembly's decision, with 143 votes in favor, nine against, and 25 abstentions, signifies a significant step in bolstering Palestine's position within the UN framework. The resolution calls upon the Security Council to grant full membership to Palestine, while also expanding its current observer status with additional rights and privileges.

Israel swiftly criticized the resolution, with its UN envoy, Gilad Erdan, delivering a sharp rebuke before the vote. Erdan accused the assembly of undermining the UN charter, symbolically shredding a miniature copy of the document.

Palestinian envoy, Riyad Mansour, pointed out the vote was being held at a time when Rafah, the southernmost town that is last haven for many Gazans, faced attack from Israeli forces.

“As we speak, 1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah wonder if they will survive the day and wonder where to go next. There is nowhere left to go,” Mansour said. “I have stood hundreds of times before at this podium, often in tragic circumstances, but none comparable to the ones my people endured today … never for a more significant vote than the one about to take place, a historic one.”

The resolution, meticulously crafted to avoid triggering a US funding cutoff, stops short of granting full membership or voting rights to Palestine. However, it represents a powerful global endorsement of Palestinian statehood, particularly in light of ongoing genocidal war and humanitarian crises in Gaza.

While the General Assembly holds symbolic significance, actual memberships are decided by the Security Council, where the US wielded its veto power against a similar bid last month. Despite the resolution's passage, the US reiterated its stance against Palestinian membership and threatened further vetoes if the issue returns to the Security Council.

The resolution grants new privileges to the Palestinian mission, allowing it to sit among other states in the General Assembly, propose resolutions, and participate in discussions. However, it reaffirms that Palestine, as an observer state, lacks voting rights or eligibility for UN organs.

Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group noted that while the resolution grants symbolic recognition to Palestine, it falls short of providing essential membership attributes such as voting power.

The resolution's careful wording aims to circumvent a 1990 US law prohibiting funding for UN entities that grant the Palestine Liberation Organization equal standing with member states.

On Thursday night, Israel’s security cabinet approved a “measured expansion” of Israeli forces’ operation in Rafah, following the stalling of ceasefire talks in Cairo. 

Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said on the X social media site that “a massive ground attack in Rafah would lead to (an) epic humanitarian disaster and pull the plug on our efforts to support people as famine looms.”

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned during a visit to Nairobi, adding that the situation in the southern Gaza city was “on a knife’s edge”.

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