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UN General Assembly votes to grant more rights to Palestine

UN General Assembly votes to grant more rights to Palestine Illustrative photo (photo: Getty Images)

On Friday, May 10, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by an overwhelming majority that grants Palestine more rights and privileges as a non-member observer state and called on the Security Council to approve Palestine's request to become the 194th member of the UN, according to CNN.

The resolution was supported by 143 countries. 25 abstained. 9 countries voted against it: Czechia, Hungary, Argentina, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Israel, and the US.

The text of the document, proposed by the United Arab Emirates, calls on the UN Security Council to decide on Palestine's membership and reconsider the matter favourably.

"The State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations," the resolution states.

In his speech before the vote, Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour spoke about the situation in Gaza. "As we speak, 1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah wonder if they will survive today," he said.

Israel Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the adoption of the resolution, calling it an absurd decision that underscores the structural bias of the UN and rewards Hamas's actions on October 7.

New rights and privileges

While the vote in the General Assembly cannot grant UN membership, the adopted resolution provides the Palestinian Authority with new procedural rights and privileges.

Only member states can vote, but the Palestinian administration can now be listed among member states in alphabetical order; submit and co-sponsor proposals and amendments; proposals and amendments of co-sponsors.

The Palestinian administration can also make statements and explanations of vote, as well as respond on behalf of a group within the UN. It can also request proposals to be voted on and demand items to be included in the UN General Assembly's agenda.

According to Mansour, the Palestinian Authority will now seek full membership in the Security Council. However, the US has already warned that it will likely veto such a request.

Hamas attack on October 7

On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants launched a large-scale attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. 1,200 civilians and soldiers were killed, and militants also kidnapped around 250 Israelis and foreigners.

Israeli advance on Rafah

At the beginning of the week, Israel began a military operation in Rafah. The US did not support this decision due to concerns about a high number of civilian casualties.

A large-scale invasion into the city has not been reported. The IDF has seized the Palestinian side of the Rafah checkpoint and is conducting shelling.

Today, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved the expansion of the operation in the city. However, it was decided that it should not be so large-scale as to cause concern in the US.