On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly in New York granted the Palestinian Authority nonmember observer state status, a victory in their quest for independent statehood.
The vote does not create a separate country, but places the Palestinian Authority on the same level as the Vatican.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to delegates before the vote, attacking Israel as a racist occupier and demanding statehood based on the 1967 borders, something Israel has objected to.
“We do not come here seeking to de-legitimize a state established here years ago, and that is Israel,” he said. “[We come here to] affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.”
But Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., said that peace is only possible through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah, not on the United Nations General Assembly floor in New York, a sentiment echoed by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
According to the Washington Post, Prosor also said that the United Nations “can’t break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.”
“This resolution will not advance peace, this resolution will not change the situation on the ground,” he told the General Assembly.
Prosor also said that he has never heard Abbas use the phrase, “two states for two people,” because “the Palestinian leadership has never accepted a Jewish state for the Jewish people,” garnering applause.
He also called Gaza “a haven for terrorists and an ammunition dumping ground” for Israel’s enemies in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Israel remains committed for peace but we will not establish another Iranian terror base in the heart of our country,” he added.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the vote will have no real meaning in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“I don’t think that (the vote) practically will have a huge influence or a major impact on any issue. … I don’t see this as the major consequence. I think the most important urgent need is to open direct negotiations. Even if we cannot agree on a fully fledged peace, probably we can accomplish something, which is better than the status quo,” he said.
The Post also noted that the vote came on the same day in 1947 that the U.N. voted on a partition resolution that would have seen a Jewish state created alongside an Arab state. The Israelis adopted it and declared independence in May 1948, but the Arabs rejected it and the result has been decades of war and strife.
According to the Post, Thursday’s vote means the Palestinians “could gain access to U.N. agencies and international bodies, most significantly the International Criminal Court, which could become a springboard for going after Israel for alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land.”
While Thursday’s vote is being celebrated in the Palestinian Authority, Breitbart.com said the Assembly hall was packed with Palestinian supporters while Israeli supporters were kept out.
“For kick-off day and the vote at the General Assembly, which is supposed to be all about mutual respect and coexistence, ‘Palestine’ has teamed up with the ‘UN Division for Palestinian Rights’ and UN officials to pack the Assembly hall with Palestine supporters while denying access to a prominent Jewish organization,” Joel B. Pollack wrote.
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