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Israel blasts UNGA decision in favor of full Palestinian membership as 'prize for Hamas'

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addresses delegates during the United Nations General Assembly before voting on a draft resolution that would recognize the Palestinians as qualified to become a full UN member, in New York City, May 10, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favor of full Palestinian membership in the UN in a resolution that stated the UNGA “determines that the State of Palestine … should therefore be admitted to membership” and “recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably.”

Out of the 193 UN member states, 143 voted in favor, 9 voted against, including the United States and Israel, and 25 countries abstained.

The vote recognizes Palestinians as eligible to join the UN as a full member, but such a decision ultimately requires the approval of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, including the United States, which has previously vetoed such an application.

The vote grants Palestinian representatives expanded rights and privileges at the UN, notably the ability to participate in debates and enhances their international standing.

Israel blasted the UNGA vote with Foreign Minister Israel Katz arguing that it was a “prize for Hamas.”

“The absurd decision taken today at the UN General Assembly highlights the structural bias of the UN and the reasons why, under the leadership of UN Secretary-General [António] Guterres, it has turned itself into an irrelevant institution,” Katz said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has sought to achieve full membership in the UN for years.

In August 2022, the PA launched a renewed campaign to gain full membership, as the PA currently holds a non-member, observer-state status, which they were granted in 2012. This status elevated them from merely being an “observer entity” to becoming eligible to sign international agreements and join global organizations.

“We want peace, we want freedom,” Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the UN General Assembly before the vote on Friday. “A 'yes' vote is a vote for Palestinian existence, it is not against any state…. It is an investment in peace.”

Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan vehemently criticized the assembly for its decision to allow the PA to expand its rights and privileges in the international organization.

“As long as so many of you are ‘Jew-hating,’ you don’t really care that the Palestinians are not ‘peace-loving’,” he said, following Mansour's statement.

In a symbolic gesture during his speech, Erdan shredded up a copy of the UN Charter, which stipulates that candidates for UN membership must be “peace-loving states.”

“When it comes to the lives of Israelis and Jews, the UN Charter means nothing to you…" Erdan argued.

"This day will go down in infamy and I want the entire world to remember this moment… this immoral act,” he said. “You are shredding the UN Charter with your own hands. Shame on you.”

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood explained to the UNGA that America's vote against the resolution did not reflect opposition to a Palestinian state.

“Our vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood; we have been very clear that we support it and seek to advance it meaningfully. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that statehood will only come from a process that involves direct negotiations between the parties,” Wood said.

Before the vote, Erdan said on Monday that he expected the U.S. to cut funding to the UN if the resolution passed.

“If it is approved, I expect the United States to completely stop funding the UN and its institutions, in accordance with American law,” Erdan said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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