The United Nations General Assembly voted 146-3 to place the “state of Palestine” at the head of a group of 134 member nations, known as the Group of 77 and China. There were 15 abstentions.
The United Nations considers the Palestinians to be a non-member state, but grants it many of the same privileges that it would award a member state.
The G77 recognized Palestine a member state since 1976. A special vote was needed, however, to place it at the head of the group, because of Palestine’s non-member status.
The UNGA placement of Palestine at the head of the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries, enhances the Palestinian stature at the UN, even though it does not imply any change in status.
Israel, the United States and Australia opposed the move. Among those 15 nations who abstained were: Andorra, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, The Czech Republic, Croatia, the CzechRepublic, Honduras, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Poland, Slovakia and Tuvalu
An Israeli representative spoke against the move and warned that placing the Palestinians at the head of the group, exploited an organization that was otherwise designed to advance the agenda of developing nations.
“The established rules of procedure of the UN are important. Constant attempts to keep changing the rules of procedure to accommodate one observer delegation, in a manner that would not be tolerated for any of the member states only weakens this institution,” Israel said.
Germany, which supported the measure clarified that its support for a Palestinian chair for the G77, was not a statement of its support for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood.
“Our vote today should not be construed as a vote in recognition of the state of Palestine. It should not be construed as a statement on its status in the United Nations,” Germany said.
The Netherlands and the United Kingdom issued similar statement.
“This vote today represents multilateralism at its best,” The Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour, said.