Celebrations at Palestine UN vote – but UK abstention attacked as “historic misjudgement”

Yesterday saw the UN vote to make Palestine a ‘non-member observer state’ - a vote the UK abstained from.


Yesterday the UN voted resoundingly to upgrade Palestine’s status to a non-member observer state, a decision met with applause, a standing ovation and celebrations on the streets of Ramallah.

Although not a member state, the promotion does afford Palestine potential membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a voice in UN debates. The vote was passed overwhelmingly, 138-9, with 41 countries abstaining. Included amongst the abstentions was the UK.

Despite Left Foot Forward having clearly laid out the reasons and moral obligations to vote in favour, the UK abstained on the basis of leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, having not explicitly stated he would renew peace talks with Israel.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander criticised the decision to abstain, tweeting:

“The UK Govt’s decision to abstain on the UN vote on enhanced status for Palestinians is worse than a blunder. It is a historic misjudgement.”


“Vote for enhanced status for Palestinians at UN is an important non-violent legal and diplomatic step towards a negotiated 2 state solution”

The UK and Germany were isolated in their abstention amongst the vast majority of European nations, who voted for the measure, including France, Italy and Spain. Many believe this move to be a step towards a two-state solution and formal recognition of Palestine as a state; more than just symbolic, it also offers legitimacy to Abbas over his militant rivals in Gaza, Hamas.

Others, however have criticised it, such as Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American activist. He described both the UN and the celebrations as a “distraction”.

The highest profile no votes, unsurprisingly, were from the US and Israel. The US has attempted to quantify its position and criticise the decision made by the UN by saying that the move was “counter-productive”, warning it may result in a reduction of US economic support for Palestine.

The reaction in the Israeli press has been similarly downbeat.

The liberal-left broadsheet Ha’aretz went with the headline:

“UN vote gives U.S. Jews one more reason to worry about Israel’s future”


“Israel suffers humiliating defeat at UN”

Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s most widely read papers, went with downplaying the Palestinian celebration, emphasising their number as a “few thousand” and writing of the heckles the Israeli Ambassador received when he appeared on a large screen set up in Yasser Arafat square.

Despite some of the negative reaction, the promotion of Palestine to an observer state must surely to be welcomed.

See also:

Five reasons the UK should back Palestine’s UN bidNovember 29th, 2012

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25 Responses to “Celebrations at Palestine UN vote – but UK abstention attacked as “historic misjudgement””

  1. Newsbot9

    Indeed. A missed opportunity to vote against this racialising, anti-peace movement towards a three-state solution. That you welcome this…

  2. ronald top

    what we need is a one state solution where israelis and palestinians can live in one state together. a 2 state solution won’t work – we need a fully multicultural Levant with every other type of person in it too. just israelis and palestinians would be too dualistic. you need pakistanis and africans and bangladeshis. it would be wonderful! like the shittier parts of London!

  3. Newsbot9

    No surprise you’re anti-Semetic.

    And yes, you keep trying to equate the areas of London where your feral thugs hang out to a completely different situation.

  4. ron

    it is spelt Semitic – and I’m not anti it.

    I think that Israel and Palestine should be 1 country shared by both peoples (both of whom are Semitic as far as I am aware). It could be the touchstone of what a mutlicultural society should look like.

  5. larnaca

    I don’t see why Palestinians and Israelis don’t just marry each other and have kids. Their kids will be a mix and will have no animosity to either side. They could say a free house in Israel/Palestine for any mixed marriages.

    Like the Angles, Saxons and Jutes intermarrying in England to produce the English. Nobody regrets their passing, everyone’s happy.

  6. treborc1

    They use to be, the nomadic people of that area were both Arab and Jewish, sadly now of course it’s a split nation

  7. Newsbot9

    Yes yes, you keep arguing for forcing the Jews into an impossible security situation.

  8. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, because you can magically make tensions go away. I’m sorry you disagree with the Good Friday agreement…

  9. rwef

    what’s impossible about different people sharing a country? isn’t it what all you multiculturalists want?

  10. larnaca

    not magic – assimilation – notice any tensions between Jutes and Angles these days?

  11. wrfrwe

    I think Newsbot wants that for all other countries but not for Israel for some reason!!

  12. Newsbot9

    Yes yes, you want genocide. Never mind reality. There is, of course, sharp differences between ideals and the situation on the ground when you have that degree of hostility and terrorism at play – and no, your far right isn’t nearly the sort of threat to Britain that would require anything such.

    (Moreover, the answer would be to crack down on your far right!)

  13. Newsbot9

    No, just between the far right and everyone else.

    Moreover, destroying cultures via conquering and killing most of the objectors is not how things are generally done these days. While I’m sure you’d like to go back to that…

  14. ron

    They’ll be happier sharing a nation in the longer term. Sure there’ll be some adjustment – but they’ll be a more peaceful nation at ease with themselves if joined. Remember diversity is strength!

  15. ron

    Arabs and Jews living in 1 state in the middle east – sharing,assimilating, loving. A beacon of inspiration to how the world can be when enemies lay down their arms and live together in peace. A 1 state solution isn’t just preferable but utterly necessary to show that love can win out over hate.

  16. ron

    Why would a multicultural state of Palestine-Israel have to result in any more animosity? Why should anyone have to be ‘destroyed’? Why should any culture be held above any other? First we need to remove any travel restrictions between the two countries. Freedom of movement, labour and capital. The Nobel Peace Prize winning EU can be a model of how the Union of Palestine-Israel can be conceived. One day there will be no Israelis and no Palestinians like there are no Jutes or Angles. Their children will live on as Palestinian-Israelis and one day drop the hyphen and just become Pisraelis!

  17. janB

    Remember the hostility between France and Germany in WW2? Or Germany and Poland? All now living in peace in 1 huge country without borders. This is so clearly the model for the middle east. Israel-Palestine should be the first step towards a uniting of the entire Semitic people under 1 flag and 1 government. Feel the love. We’re all the same under the skin brother.

  18. janB

    Remember the hostility between France and Germany in WW2? Or Germany and Poland? All now living in peace in 1 huge country without borders. This is so clearly the model for the middle east. Israel-Palestine should be the first step towards a uniting of the entire Semitic people under 1 flag and 1 government. Feel the love. We’re all the same under the skin brother.

  19. Newsbot9

    Blah blah ignore reality. Right.

  20. Newsbot9

    Yes, thanks for supporting genocide, as I said. And keep pushing for casually destroying cultures, typical nonsense.

  21. Newsbot9

    Yes yes, you don’t have a clue about the situation and are blathering on about things. You keep opposing actual peace deals for an ideal which would be bluntly stupid for either side to accept.

  22. ron

    what is genocidal about people living in peace together?

  23. Newsbot9

    No, disbelief will NOT let you fly.

  24. janB

    I think you have made yourself very clear, Newsbot9. You want multiculturalism for every country except Israel. The English, French and Germans are mongrel people who do not exist in their own right and have no right to be the majority in their own countries. The Jews are a pure bred people who absolutely MUST have a homeland and anything else is genocide.

  25. Newsbot9

    Nope, I’m practical, not genocidal as you are.

    That you, personally, are a mongrel says nothing for the fact that I don’t favour genocide. Your minority is a chosen one of intolerance, and is the enemy.

    I don’t hold to theory over and over common sense as you do, with your radical xenophobic isolationism. Keep trying to collapse the economy!

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