UN votes to raise Palestinian flag at headquarters as Israel condemns resolution
The UN General Assembly has broken its protocol by passing a resolution allowing Palestine and the Holy See (both non-member observer states) to raise their flags at UN headquarters.
The Holy See is the official UN name for the Vatican.
The UN said in a statement on Friday in New York that the resolution, submitted by Palestine and 20 co-sponsors, was passed 119-8, with 45 abstentions.
It explained that the resolution was backed by many countries belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 states that do not support any political power bloc.
It said Israel, U.S., Canada and Australia voted against the resolution.
The UN said its secretariat had to raise the flag of non-member observer states within 20 days, allowing the Palestinians to display their flag during a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 30.
It said The Holy See, which is the only other observer state at the UN, disassociated itself from the initiative early on, saying it would “accept whatever decision” the UN takes, according to a statement.
“It is unclear if the Holy See will raise its flag. However, it is unlikely that the flag will fly during the visit of Pope Francis on Sept. 25.
Meanwhile, Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, explained that raising the Palestinian flag outside the UN headquarters is not an alternative to negotiations.
Power said such would also not bring the parties closer to peace.
Ron Prosor, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, condemned the resolution, saying that the Palestinians use and abuse the world organisation and cynically manipulate the UN to score political points.
He said the Palestinians seem to be able to do whatever they want and are free to act with impunity.
Prosor also slammed the EU for failing to agree on a unified position to abstain after EU countries voted in line with their national positions.
“Britain, Germany and Austria abstained, while France, Sweden and Luxembourg voted in favour.
He said Austria and Germany signaled that they did not see a compelling reason for changing the long-held tradition of flying the flags of full-fledged member states.
Prosor, however, said both countries reassured the Palestinians that they were fully in support of a two-state solution