Thursday, November 29, the 193-nation United Nations General Assembly granted de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine.
The symbolic victory for Palestine was accomplished despite the opposition of the United States and Israel, along with a small contingency of allies who voted against elevating the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations to "nonmember state" from "entity.”
At the meeting, 138 nations voted in favor of the measure, nine opposed it, with 41 abstaining. Notably, the vote was held on the 65th anniversary of the adoption of UN resolution 181 that divided Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.
Swiss Info reports “thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip set off fireworks and danced in the streets to celebrate the vote.”
Not everyone was in the mood to celebrate, however.
In a statement, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) simultaneously reminded the world of his own fierce fidelity to Israel, as well as to remind the Palestinian Authority and Egypt (broker of the peace talks between Israel and Gaza) of their dependency on the largesse of the United States.
"This is a provocative unhealthy step that could undermine the peace process," Graham said.
At an appearance with Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Graham expressed concern that an elevated Palestine might seek redress of its grievances from the global government.
"If you make a petition to the International Criminal Court against the state of Israel ... that will put the peace process in a ditch and undermine any chance of a peaceful solution anytime soon and we will cut off funding," Graham said.
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Photo of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressing UN General Assembly November 29: AP Images