119 Countries Vote “Yes” To Allow Palestinian Flag To Fly At The UN Headquarters

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the draft resolution of raising the flag of non-member observer state of Palestine at the UN headquarters in New York City.
A total of 119 out of 193 member states of the world body voted ‘yes,’ to allow the flag of Palestine to have its place in front of the UN headquarters. Commentators have said this is a significant step towards the achievement of an independent Palestinian state, free from the oppression of Israel.
45 Nations abstained from the vote while 8 voted ‘against,’ including the United States and Israel. The vote is said to have angered Israel and the country’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, made unpleasant comments regarding the vote. He was quoted as saying, “The assembly would vote to declare the Earth is flat if the Palestinians proposed it.” 

But despite his rant, the Palestinians and those who believe in an independent Palestinian state as the solution to the end of Israel’s aggression in the region, welcomed the decision. The Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, told reporters after the vote that he strongly believes this marks another step towards recognition of Palestinian statehood. “It’s a step to the recognition of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations,” Hamdallah said, while in Paris. Among the European countries that voted ‘Yes’ were France, Russia, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Malta and Poland. However, the majority of EU member states were among the 45 countries that chose to abstain from the vote.  

The resolution stated that flags of non-member observer states like Palestine, “shall be raised at [UN] Headquarters [in New York] and United Nations Offices following the flags of the member states.”
Palestinian diplomats, who initiated the resolution, said they would like to see the flag raised on September 30th, marking the day when the late Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed world leaders at the annual gathering of the UN General Assembly.

After voting against the resolution, the US also criticized the raising of the Palestinian flag. The country’s Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, told reporters that flying the flag at the UN will only create more tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

The occupied Palestinian territories have been seeking full independence from Israel for many years. In 2012, the UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine. In 2014, the US used its veto powers at the Security Council to prevent Palestine to gain recognition as a full independent member state of the world governing body. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said in late August this year that Israel is willing to continue negotiations with the Palestinians, “without any preconditions.” The last round of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinians took place between July of 2013 and April of 2014. Israel pulled-out the negotiations after Fatah, part of the Palestinian Authority, declared peace with Hamas — Israel’s mortal enemy.  

RT News reports that there are more than 500,000 Israelis living in the West Bank settlements, which the Palestinians consider as part of their future independent country. The West Bank settlement building by Israel is considered illegal by international bodies and it has also been a major obstacle in peace negotiations.
To worsen the situation, the Israelis have maintained their blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007. A UN conference has warned that if the blockade continues, the area may become “unlivable” in the next five years.