LIVE BLOG: UNGA votes on Palestinian bid to become non-member observer state
At least 150 countries expected to vote 'yes' on resolution to recognize Palestinian state; Abbas: Stop the aggression, the settlements, the occupation; Prosor: Don't help the Palestinians in their 'march of folly'; Turkey FM: Davutoglu: Our vision for justice will not be achieved until Palestine is full UN member.
The UN General Assembly is expected on Thursday to pass a historic resolution recognizing Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member observer state.
At least 150 countries are expected to vote in favor of the resolution. Israel will suffer a humiliating political defeat and find itself isolated along with the United States, Canada, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and, at best, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Thirteen members of the European Union have announced their support for the Palestinian move: France, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Sweden. Norway and Switzerland, which are not members of the EU, have also declared their support.
Live Blog (All times in EST)
5:42 P.M. The 41 nations that abstained are: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Korea, Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, United Kingdom, Vanuatu.
5:25 P.M Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States vote against.
5:09 P.M. Rice concludes her remarks. French representative beings speaking.
5:08 P.M. Rice: There are no shortcuts. Long after the votes have been cast, long after the speeches have been forgotten, it is the Palestinians and Israelis who must talk to each other and listen to each other, and find a way to live side by side in the land they share.
5:07 P.M. Rice: This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state.
5:05 P.M. Rice: Today's grand pronouncements will soon fade, and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little has changed in their daily lives save for the prospects for a durable peace have receded. The United States calls therefore upon both parties to resume talks without preconditions.
5:03 P.M. U.S. envoy to UN Susan Rice explains her country's vote. "Today's counterproductive resolution places more obstacles in the path of peace."
5:01 P.M. Ban Ki-Moon: I urge the parites to renew their committment for negotiated peace.
5:00 P.M. The result of the voting is as follows: In favor: 138. Opposed 9. Abstentions: 41. Palestine has been reocognized as a non-member observer state.
4:59: P.M. All delegations cast their votes, voting completed. Standing ovation.
4:57 P.M. Voting begins.
4:56 P.M. Jeremić concludes his remarks, voting to begin. Undersecretary general takes the floor.
4:51 P.M. President of General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić, beings speaking, vote on resolution to follow.
4:51 P.M. Davutoglu finishes his speech.
4:50 P.M. Davutoglu: I call on all UN members to fulfill long overdue responsibility to Palestinians.
4:48 P.M. Davutoglu: Argument that Palestinians must resume negotiations before achieving statehood is superficial.
4:46 P.M. Davutoglu: The current status quo is neither sustainabble, nor is it acceptable.
4:45 P.M. Davutoglu: Our vision for justice, internaitonal order and human rights will not be achieved until we see the flag of Palestinne standing next to ours as a full member of the United Nations.
4:43 P.M. Davutoglu: It is high time for all of us to uphold the universal values of justice and dignity.
4:42 P.M. Davutoglu: Today we have an opportunity to give comfort to the Palestinian people.
4:41 P.M. Davutoglu: Reality of Palestine is a bleeding wound in the consciousness of all humanity.
4:39 P.M. Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey, takes the podium.
4:39 P.M. Baird finishes his remarks, steps down.
4:37 P.M. Baird restates Canada's intent to vote against the proposition. "Peace can only come as the result of both sides working together."
4:34 P.M. Israeli Prime Minister's office: Abbas's speech in the UN is not one of a man who wants peace
4:31 P.M. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird begins speaking.
4:20 P.M. Indonesian Foreign Miniter takes the podium.
4:19 P.M. Prosor concludes his remarks to scattered applause.
4:18 P.M. Prosor: Those who are supporting the resolution today are not advancing peace. They are undermining peace.
The UN was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace. Don't let history record that today the UN helped them along on their march of folly.
4:18 P.M. Prosor: There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions. As President Obama, said in 2010, "Peace cannot be imposed from the outside."
In submitting this resolution, the Palestinian leadership is once again making the wrong choice.
65 years ago the Palestinians could have chosen to live side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel. 65 years ago they could have chosen to accept the solution of two states for two peoples. They rejected it then, and they are rejecting it again today.
4:17 P.M. Prosor: This resolution violates binding fundamental commitments.
4:17 P.M. Prosor: This resolution says nothing about Israel's security needs.
4:16 P.M. Prosor: This resolution will not confer statehood on the Palestinian Authority, which clearly fails to meet the criteria for statehood.
4:15 P.M. Prosor: Palestinians have never been able to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago, that Israel is a Jewish state.
4:15 P.M. Prosor: We will not allow the establishment of new Iranian terror base.
4:14 P.M. Prosor: The truth is that 65 years ago the UN voted to partition the British Mandate into two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, two states for two peoples Israel accepted the plan, the Palestinians and Arab nations rejected it, and launched a war.
4:13 P.M. Prosor: For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, any hope of peace will be out of reach.
4:12 P.M. Prosor: No decision by the UN can break the 4,000 year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.
4:11 P.M. Prosor: The Bible calls on us to seek peace, and pursue it.
4:10 P.M. Prosor: I stand before you tall and proud, because I represent the world's only Jewish state.
4:09 P.M. Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, takes the podium.
4:08 P.M. Abbas concludes his speech to a standing ovation, descends from the General Assembly podium.
4:07 P.M. Abbas: The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine.
4:06 P.M. Abbas: Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two States and became the birth certificate for Israel.
Sixty-five years later and on the same day, which your esteemed body has designated as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the General Assembly stands before a moral duty, which it must not hesitate to undertake, and stands before a historic duty, which cannot endure further delay, and before a practical duty to salvage the chances for peace, which is urgent and cannot be postponed.
4:04 P.M. Abbas: In our endeavor today to acquire non-member State status for Palestine in the United Nations, we reaffirm that Palestine will always adhere to and respect the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations and international humanitarian law, uphold equality, guarantee civil liberties, uphold the rule of law, promote democracy and pluralism, and uphold and protect the rights of women.
4:01 P.M. Abbas: The world is being asked today to undertake a significant step in the process of rectifying the unprecedented historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people since Al-Nakba of 1948.
4:00 P.M. Abbas: We will accept no less than the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194 (III), as per the operative part of the Arab Peace Initiative.
3:59 P.M. Abbas: Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.
3:57 P.M. Abbas: The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: Enough of aggression, settlements and occupation.
3:55 P.M. Abbas: We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process.
3:53 P.M. Abbas: When the Palestine National Council decided in 1988 to pursue the Palestinian peace initiative and adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was based on resolution 181 (II) (29 November 1947), adopted by your august body, it was in fact undertaking, under the leadership of the late President Yasser Arafat, a historic, difficult and courageous decision that defined the requirements for a historic reconciliation that would turn the page on war, aggression and occupation.
3:47 P.M. Abbas: Palestine comes today to the General Assembly because it believes in peace and because its people, as proven in past days, are in desperate need of it.
Palestine comes today to this prestigious international forum, representative and protector of international legitimacy, reaffirming our conviction that the international community now stands before the last chance to save the two-State solution.
3:46 P.M. Palestinan Authority President Mahmoud Abbas takes the podium, greated by partial standing ovations and whistles from the crowd.
3:44 P.M. Osman: We are asking the General Assemble to accord to Palestine a non-member observer state status.
3:41 P.M. Sudanese envoy to UN Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman: Preamble of draft resolution reaffirms the right of Palestnian people to self-determination.
3:35 P.M. Sudanese envoy to UN Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman presents text of "historic decision" to grant Palestine status of "non-member observer state."
3:33 P.M. General Assembly meeting called to order.
3:00 P.M. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas enters UN General Assembly hall.
2:45 P.M Last preparations underway for start of General Assembly meeting on recognition of Palestine as “non-member observer state”. Uniformed policemen and sniffer dogs are making a last minute sweep for possible explosives, technicians are conducting sound checks in main hall and the Palestinian delegation, dressed like for a wedding, are chattering excitedly in the halls, waiting for the big show.
At 3:00 P.M. EST the session will start. The Sudanese representative will submit the proposal, then Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will make his speech, to be followed by Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, and a few speeches by other foreign ministers. The vote is expected to take place before five pm. (Chemi Shalev)
2:33 P.M. Analysis: Abbas has regained his position - at least in the Palestinian and Arab media - as a hero and leader without fault: "He who dares wins," partly thanks to the Israeli PR campaign that presented the move as no less than "state terror." And now, thanks to the Israeli negative campaign, Abbas has received broad coverage in the international media - and a rare Palestinian consensus. Even senior Hamas officials, who originally objected to the UN request, this time supported Abbas and his courage in not only going against Israel's wishes, but also those of the American administration. (The full text of Avi Issacharoff's analysis can be found here.)
1:50 P.M. Dr. Alon Liel, former director general of the Foreign Ministry participated in pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Tel Aviv. "From this night on, there is a Palestinian state. If until now we were controlling the lives of another people, from now on we are controlling another state," said Liel.
He said to Sufian Abu Zaida, a former Palestinian minister also participating in the demonstration: "Today is a holiday. I'm happy that you have a state, because you deserve a state. We also deserve that you should have a state. We've had enough of controlling your lives. We don't want to rule over 5 million Palestinians. (Ilan Lior)
1:11 P.M. Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, tells Israel's Channel 10: "This symbolic decision is a reward for terror. It is a reward for those who do not want to hold direct negotiations. The mistake is that this symbolic decision does not take Israel's security requirements into account at all, doesn't even attempt to recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people, nor does it include any plan for returning to negotiations."
He added, "The bottom line is that tomorrow morning, the average Palestinian will wake up, and nothing will be different. There won't be a drastic change here in terms of our way of life. Changing the way of life requires sitting down together to talk. (Haaretz)
12:59 P.M. Bipartisan group of U.S. senators warns Palestinians that they could lose U.S. financial support if they use upgraded UN status against Israel.(AP)
12:25 P.M. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas releases statement urging UN member nations to vote 'yes' on resolution to recognize Palestinian state. (AP)
11:40 A.M. Hundreds of Israeli activits from Meretz and Hadash parties demonstrating in Tel Aviv in show of support for Palestinian UN bid. (Haaretz)