UN General Assembly backs Palestinian bid for UN membership
  ·  2024-05-11  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency


Palestinian children evacuated from Rafah are seen on a beach in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on May 10, 2024. (XINHUA) 

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on May 10 adopted a resolution supporting the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member by recognizing it as qualified to join and recommending that the Security Council "reconsider the matter favorably."

The resolution was adopted with 143 votes in favor and nine against, including the United States and Israel, while 25 countries abstained. China voted for the resolution.

The resolution states, "The State of Palestine... should therefore be admitted to membership" and "recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably."

The resolution "determines" that a State of Palestine is qualified for membership - dropping the original language that in the UN General Assembly's judgment it is "a peace-loving state." It therefore recommends that the Security Council reconsider its request "favorably."

Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdulaziz Alwasil, said that "the resolution presented today is fully in line with those resolutions. It seeks to implement the will of the international community and contribute to building true peace in the Middle East based on the two-state solution."

"It is high time for the international community to re-establish the truth because the world can no longer ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people that has lasted for decades," he said after the vote.

Alwasil further noted that Israel, the occupying power, has perpetrated "all sorts of crimes" against the Palestinian people, scorning international law.

"Israel is convinced that they are above these resolutions and that they enjoy a certain level of immunity...which explains their ongoing hostile and brutal policies," he said.

UNGA President Dennis Francis opened the continuation of the 10th Emergency Special Session (ESS), which last convened on Dec. 12, 2023, against the backdrop of a worsening crisis in Gaza.

Francis stated that peace has remained elusive, and the situation has become untenable, deteriorating "at an alarming speed."

This crisis is "bringing countless innocent victims into its deadly fold and pushing the region further to the brink of full-scale catastrophe," he said.

He urged the international community not to look away from the dire situation that has unfolded since the new round of conflict began on Oct. 7, leading to significant Israeli devastation in Gaza.

The resolution, proposed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on behalf of 22 Arab countries and co-sponsored by about 65 states, asserts that "the State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations in accordance with Article 4 of the Charter and should therefore be admitted."

UAE's permanent representative to the United Nations, Mohamed Abushahab, addressed the General Assembly before the vote, emphasizing the broad recognition of the legitimacy of Palestine's bid.

He stated, "The vast majority of countries in the General Assembly are fully aware of the legitimacy of the Palestinian bid and the justness of their cause, which faces fierce attempts to suppress it and render it meaningless today."

He further noted that granting Palestine full membership would send a "powerful message" in support of the two-state solution, adding, "Fulfilling the UN's historic obligation towards the Palestinian people is long overdue, but it is never too late."

Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, Munir Akram, told the General Assembly that there will come a day when Israel will be held accountable for the crimes committed against Palestinians, especially in Gaza.

The insults hurled today are "the arrogance of the aggressor" reflecting the impunity of the occupier, he said, explaining his delegation's position ahead of the vote on the draft resolution.

He also expressed hope that the international community will appropriately respond in that regard.

Akram underscored that the resolution's adoption will determine the widespread support for Palestine to be accorded full UN membership.

Also, before the vote, Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, told the assembly that "no words can capture what such loss and trauma signifies for Palestinians, their families, communities and for our nation as a whole."

He said Palestinians in Gaza "have been pushed to the very edge of the strip, to the very brink of life" with Israel besieging Rafah.

"We want peace, we want freedom," Mansour said. "A yes vote is a vote for Palestinian existence, it is not against any state ... It is an investment in peace."

"Voting yes is the right thing to do," he stated, receiving applause from the assembly.

Israel's permanent representative to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, accused the assembly, after the vote, of trampling on the UN Charter, and put the cover of the UN Charter into a mini portable electric document shredder.

In the Security Council vote on April 18, the Palestinians received significant support for full UN membership, with 12 votes in favor. Britain and Switzerland abstained, while the United States voted no and vetoed the resolution.

The 10th ESS convened for the first time in April 1997 following a request from Qatar. It followed a series of Security Council and General Assembly meetings regarding the Israeli decision to build a large housing project in an area of East Jerusalem.

The General Assembly on May 1 announced that it would resume the 10th ESS, after Palestine's UN membership bid was blocked by the United States at the Security Council in April.

Francis had informed member states that he would convene a plenary meeting of the ESS on May 10.

According to the UN Charter, prospective members must be "peace-loving," and their admission requires a recommendation from the Security Council to the General Assembly for final approval. Palestine has held the status of a UN non-member observer state since 2012.

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