UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday allowing the Palestinians and the Holy See to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters — a symbolic step pursued by the Palestinians in their quest for an independent state.
Israel strongly objected to the proposal and joined seven other countries, including the United States, in voting “no”; 119 nations voted “yes” and 45 abstained.
The resolution allows non-member observer states to raise their flags alongside those of the 193 U.N. member states. The Palestinians and the Vatican are the only two observers, but the Holy See has backed away from the effort, saying it will not raise its flag before Pope Francis visits the U.N. later this month.
With Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations stalled and little prospect of a two-state solution emerging, the Palestinians have successfully pursued symbolic recognition as a state at the United Nations — winning General Assembly approval in late 2012 to raise their status from an observer to a non-member observer state, by a vote of 138 in favor and nine against. That has allowed the Palestinians to join U.N. bodies, including its cultural organization UNESCO, and many international treaties, including the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.
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