UN votes to give ‘State of Palestine’ leadership of developing-nations bloc

October 19, 2018 by JNS
Read on for article

In a landslide, the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday voted to grant the “State of Palestine” additional temporary rights and privileges that will enable it to head the largest bloc of developing countries at the United Nations.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly. Credit: U.N. Photo/Cia Pak.

Of the 164 voting countries, fifteen abstained, just three—Israel, the United States and Australia—opposed, and 146 voted in favour of Resolution A/73/L.5, which will give the “State of Palestine” extra rights for the year it chairs the Group of 77, the biggest bloc of developing countries at the United Nations, starting Jan. 1, 2019.

Palestine’s delegates will now be able to raise procedural motions, co-sponsor proposals and amendments, and make statements and explain votes on behalf of the G7.

The Palestinian Authority, which only has observer status at the United Nations, will now head a consortium of 134 countries that often speaks as one entity at the General Assembly, a group that comprises 80 per cent of the world’s population and three-quarters of U.N. member states.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Halley called the move a “mistake,” and noted that “Palestinians are not a U.N. member state—or any state at all.” As such, she said, it should not be given rights issued to legitimate member states.

Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Noa Furman said the resolution demonstrates the P.A.’s “pattern of manipulative behaviour” and warned that the vote gave the Arab entity even more rights than necessary to preside over the G77.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohan said that the United States would not change its position on Palestinian statehood as a result of the decision.

“When the Palestinians speak as chair of the G77 in the General Assembly, we will remind our fellow member-states that the United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state and that no such state has been admitted as a U.N. member state,” he said.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom all said that their vote was intended to enable Palestine to chair the G77, and was not a recognition of Palestinian statehood. They further emphasized that the issuance of rights was only for a year.