In a vote that saw 119 UN members vote in favour and only 8 members voting against, it has been decided that the Palestinian flag is to fly at the United Nations headquarters.
The move could mean a substantial amount for Palestine in its aim to be seen as a separate state in the international arena, even though Palestine is not an actual member of the United Nations.
Two of the opposing voters against the raising of the flag were the U.S.A. and Israel. Both agree that the flag will not equal Palestine’s separate state, nor will it help in negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
The Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, has said that the vote was used by the Palestinians to “cynically manipulate the UN to score political points”, and that the only way to achieve official statehood is through “direct negotiations”. These are points that U.S. ambassador Mark Toner, has agreed with, adding that to do this will be “counter productive” to negotiations for statehood.
Amongst those who voted for the flag being raised was France, whose ambassador Francoise Delattre affirmed his belief that the flag was “a powerful symbol, a glimmer of hope,” for the Palestinians, as peace talks between Palestine and Israel remain stagnant. The talks ground to a halt after a failed intervention by the US, and after the war in April of last year in the Gaza Strip left 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Although it is apparent that this flag raising could be a shade of hope for many Palestinians, Palestinian academic Azam Tamimi told Al Jazeera that the raising of the flag was a “meaningless gesture”, reaffirming his belief that “Our quest is not for another failing Arab state with a meaningless flag and useless institutions, but for a homeland that was stripped from us.”
45 members voted to abstain in this, including most of the 28 member European Union. Amongst these were Britain, Germany and Finland.