A historic resolution by an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly has upgraded the status of the Palestinian Authority from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.” The vote on Thursday was deliberately planned to be passed on the 65th anniversary of the founding of today’s State of Israel.
Since 1974, the Palestinians have held a “non-member observer entity” status. Over the years, they have been gaining recognition. In 1998, the Palestinians were granted special rights to participate in the work of the General Assembly. Last year, under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians failed to receive full UN membership because such a move would be subject to a U.S. veto. But being recognized, like the Vatican, as a “non-member observer state” is not subject to a veto. It only requires majority approval of the UN’s 193 members. And that’s what they did on November 29.
A whopping 138 states, including France, Italy, Russia, China and New Zealand, voted in favor of the resolution. Forty-one, including the UK, Germany and Australia, abstained. Only nine countries were opposed to the resolution. The majority were small Pacific Island nations. The only major powers were the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel.
Israel condemned the resolution, saying it will “hurt peace.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote “unfortunate and counter-productive” to the peace process. A Palestinian state, opponents of the resolution have said, should only emerge out of bilateral negotiations, as set out in the 1993 Oslo peace accords. Palestinian leader Abbas, on the other hand, sees the international community as the “last chance to save the two-state solution.”
The Vatican too has welcomed this resolution, and has pushed for full recognition of Palestinian sovereignty. The Vatican also called for the recognition of “an internationally guaranteed special statute” for the city of Jerusalem, an agreement “safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a holy city, [and] respect for, and freedom of access to its holy places.”
While the recent UN resolution does not grant statehood or independence to the Palestinians, it is a significant diplomatic score for them. They can now take part in UN debates and even join the International Criminal Court and potentially prosecute Israel for war crimes. They may seek to resolve territorial disputes through the International Court of Justice.
The Palestinians’ new UN status will not lead to peace. Statehood or no, the Bible reveals that the Palestinians will soon take control of half of Jerusalem through violence. The recent elevation within the UN will only serve to embolden them.
Watch Jerusalem closely. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, “When half of Jerusalem goes into captivity, that crisis triggers a series of events that leads to the return of Jesus Christ! One half of Jerusalem being taken captive is like the first domino to fall leading to Christ’s return.” For more on these climactic events, read Jerusalem in Prophecy. ▪