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UN votes to admit Palestine as full member

General Assembly vote on Palestine


John Burger - published on 05/11/24

Resolution leaves Holy See Mission as the only "observer" state left at world body.

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Friday to allow Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Holy See as the only state to have “observer” status at the world body.

One hundred and forty-nine states voted in favor of granting Palestine the full status, with only nine states objecting, including the United States, which maintains that recognition of Palestinian statehood should be achieved through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Twenty-five states abstained.

As an observer at the United Nations, the Holy See could not cast a vote in such a decision. But the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations has consistently made statements in support of the Palestinian people over the years, and the Vatican has called for the “two-state solution.”

A spokesman for the Holy See Mission was not immediately available for comment.

Allowing in a terror state?

On Friday, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said before the vote that his people want “peace and freedom.”

“A yes vote is a vote for Palestinian existence, it is not against any state,” Mansour told ​​the 193-member General Assembly. Voting yes is “the right thing to do.”

But Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, told his peers that voting for the resolution would be allowing a terrorist into the world body, which was established in the wake of a war against Nazism’s holocaust of the Jews. Hamas, he said, is today’s Adolf Hitler.

The U.N. charter stipulates that the General Assembly can only grant full membership to a nation-state after the approval of the Security Council, The New York Times explained. “Examples of that include the creation of the states of Israel and South Sudan. The resolution adopted on Friday explicitly states that the Palestinian issue is an exception and will not set precedent.”

Friday’s vote gives the Palestinians the right to speak at General Assembly meetings on any topic, instead of being limited to Palestinian affairs. They can submit proposals and amendments and participate at U.N. conferences and international meetings.

Two-state solution

While reiterating the Holy See’s condemnation of the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel by Hamas, the militant organization that rules the Gaza Strip, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, said last November,

“The only lasting response to the plight of Palestinian refugees is a just peace that meets the legitimate demands of both Palestinians and Israelis. Achieving such a settlement based on the two-State solution requires a cessation of current hostilities and the de-escalation of tensions, including at the regional level. It is important that the legitimate authorities of the State of Palestine and the authorities of the State of Israel, with the support of the entire international community, demonstrate the audacity to renew their commitment to a peace based on justice and mutual respect. Although the path of dialogue seems very narrow at present, it is the only viable option for a lasting end to the cycle of violence that has engulfed this land, so dear to Christians, Jews and Muslims.”

Archbishop Caccia also expressed concern at the “catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent Palestinian lives, including many children, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, and the indiscriminate suffering of the population, which has been caused, inter alia, by the lack of food, fuel and medical supplies.”

2 States living in peace

The Vatican has long insisted on the two-state solution being the only way forward, and in his most recent pleas for peace, the Pope has said so specifically.

On April 27 at the end of the general audience, he said:

And let us also pray for the Middle East, for Gaza: it suffers so much there, in the war. For peace between Palestine and Israel, that they be two states, free and with good relations. Let us pray for peace.

On April 14, after praying the midday Regina Caeli, the Pope said:

No one should threaten the existence of others. Instead, may all nations take the side of peace, and help Israelis and Palestinians live in two States, side by side, in safety. It is their deep and legitimate desire, and it is their right! Two neighbouring States.

IsraelMiddle EastPalestineUnited Nations
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