UN votes for Palestinian statehood
Dublin Labour MEP Emer Costello also welcomed the vote outcome.
Ms Costello, chairperson of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council, said the vote, held on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, "is a significant milestone in Palestinian ambitions for statehood".
“In particular, I welcome Ireland's continued support for Palestine's right to self-determination."
The UN vote presents "a real opportunity to restate the case for a two-state solution" for Israel and the Palestinians, she said. "I call on both the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority to restart negotiations for a lasting and sustainable peace leading to the creation of a fully independent Palestinian state, while ensuring that Israel is safe and secure within its own borders."
She urged the Israeli government not to engage "in retaliation or recrimination such as the withholding of taxes or the expansion of settlements, as had been mooted before the vote".
Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on the middle east Pat Sheehan also welcomed the "historic" UN decision.
In a statement today he said: the vote demonstrates the international community’s determination "to see a peaceful and just resolution of the conflict in the region, based on an inclusive dialogue involving all the participants".
A just and lasting peace could only be achieved "if it is based on international law and respect for human rights", he continued.
“The recognition of Palestinian statehood is no threat to any people but rather can provide the framework for a meaningful process involving current protagonists. This step brings the Palestinian people closer to that statehood."
Bid for full membership thwarted
Last year, the Palestinian Authority’s bid for full UN membership had been thwarted by the threat of a US veto in the security council.
Yesterday’s vote strengthened the trend of increasing support for Palestinian statehood among EU countries. About a dozen EU countries indicated they would vote for the resolution, including France, Spain, Norway and Denmark. The majority were to abstain.
Germany was the only EU member which said it would vote against the resolution.
Britain considered voting Yes on condition the Palestinian Authority promise not to use its observer status to gain membership in the International Criminal Court at the Hague, where it might attempt to pursue Israel for war crimes.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinians’ UN representative, said his people had no immediate plan to do so, but wanted to keep that option open.
Mr Abbas and Mr Prosor both noted that the vote was held on the 65th anniversary of General Assembly resolution 181, which divided the British mandate for Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state. Israel accepted it at the time. Under Yasser Arafat’s leadership, the Palestine National Council accepted resolution 181 in 1988.
The UN victory for the Palestinians was a diplomatic setback for the US and Israel, which were joined by only a handful of countries in voting against the move to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the UN to "non-member state" from "entity", like the Vatican.
Britain called on the US to use its influence to help break the long impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Washington also called for a revival of direct negotiations.