UN general assembly backs Palestinian bid for membership despite opposition

In a historic move, the United Nations General Assembly has voted by an overwhelming majority to grant new “rights and privileges” to Palestine, urging the Security Council to reconsider its request for full membership in the UN.

With a vote of 143-9 and 25 abstentions, the 193-member world body approved the resolution sponsored by Arab and Palestinian factions. Notably, Pakistan stood in support of the resolution, emphasizing Palestine’s eligibility for UN membership.

The decision comes amidst heightened tensions in the region, with Israeli aggression in Gaza bringing the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the forefront. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, coupled with the loss of over 35,000 lives, has sparked global outrage and renewed calls for Palestinian statehood.

Despite the Biden administration’s opposition to the resolution, Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood reiterated the United States’ stance against it. Alongside Israel, the US was among the nine countries voting against the resolution.

In a passionate address before the vote, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram condemned Israeli aggression and emphasized the need for accountability. He denounced Israel’s refusal to heed calls for a ceasefire, highlighting the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Akram underscored the significance of the resolution, stating that it reflects widespread support for Palestine’s full UN membership. He called for a level playing field in negotiations between Israel and Palestine, emphasizing the need for equality in the peace process.

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, lamented the devastating impacts of the conflict, with thousands dead, injured, and displaced. He urged nations to stand for Palestinian rights and peace, emphasizing the symbolic importance of the Palestinian flag.

However, Israel’s UN Ambassador Gild Erdan vehemently opposed the resolution, equating it to “welcoming a terror State into its ranks.” He likened the decision to appeasing modern-day Nazism, sparking controversy and division among member states.

The adoption of this resolution marks a significant step towards addressing the longstanding injustices faced by the Palestinian people and reinvigorating efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

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