UN upgrades Palestinian status to non-member observer state
The UN General Assembly Thursday recognized the Palestinian Authority as a non-member observer state.
The Palestinian bid, submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas, was approved by 138 UN members, while nine voted against it and 41 abstained from voting.
The move amounts to an implicit recognition of the Palestinian statehood and increases PA's chances of joining other UN bodies. It also allows the Palestinian Authority to challenge the continuing construction of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land in the International Criminal Court.
Abbas urged the US General Assembly before the historic vote "to issue the birth certificate of Palestine".
He also reiterated that the Palestinians would continue their efforts to achieve a fully-recognized statehood.
Abbas submitted Palestine's official application for recognition as an independent state in the UN in September 2011. That bid was blocked by a US veto in the Security Council.
Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip greeted the Thursday vote with high jubilation as it formally gives them global recognition.
The Palestinian Authority, which earlier enjoyed a "permanent observer" status at the UN, now joins the Vatican as the only other entity with non-member observer state status.
Exactly 65 years ago, on Nov 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews, allowing for the formation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948.
The Palestinians rejected that partition plan, and decades of tension and violence have followed.
The Palestinians demand the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as a precondition for peace talks with Tel Aviv.