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Palestine Gets “Symbolic” Upgrade at the UN

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Palestine, Breaking News, International Relations, Politics

The upgrade of Palestine from an “entity” to a “non-member state” at the United Nations received a lukewarm reaction from netizens – who asked what a ‘symbolic’ gesture like recognising Palestine at the United Nations would do to Palestinians, particularly those living under Israeli occupation and refugees.

From Gaza, Lina Al-Sharif screams:

@livefromgaza [1]: Ramallah is not my capital, Jerusalem is. And ALL of Palestine is my homeland. NO to #Palestine194

Adam Al Aqqad asks:

@Abou_Charlie [2]: Who does #Palestine194 serve? '48 Palestinians? [West Bank] Palestinians? Gazan Palestinians? Palestinian refugees?

And he adds:

@Abou_Charlie [3]: Remember, at it's core, the Palestinian struggle is one of refugees. Our struggle ends with the rights of refugees. #Palestine194

Palestinian Doc Jazz tweets:

: Symbolic? We are already drowning in symbolism. Give us back our land, our rights, our freedom, not a ‘symbolic’ gesture u call a ‘state’.

And he adds:

: While they support ‘Israel’ politically, economically & militarily, they support Palestine symbolically. And we're supposed to cheer.

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin notes:

@ASE: [4] So, the UN now recognizes Palestine as a state while recognizing also that Israel Occupies the West Bank & Gaza. Hmm.

At the UN General Assembly meeting last night, 138 countries technically voted in favour of naming Palestine the world's 194th state by accepting its status as a non-member state at the world body.

The UN GA President Vuk Jeremić tweets:

@UN_PGA [5]: The #Palestine bid is approved by @UN #UNbid Yes – 138 No – 9 Abstain – 41 pic.twitter.com/6wD4EbgT

He shares a copy which lists the countries which voted yes and no and those who abstained from voting [see image below].

Who voted in favour of granting Palestine a non-member state status at the UN? [6]

Who voted in favour of granting Palestine a non-member state status at the UN? UN GA President Vuk Jeremić tweets a photograph of the list of countries which voted in favour, against and abstained

The countries that voted against the motion were Israel, Canada, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Panama, the Czech Republic and the United States – giving netizens the chance to learn [7] about some of the countries they have never heard of before.

Israeli Maya Norton quips:

@mayanorton [8]: This is the most press I've ever read on Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands & Micronesia. It's almost like it was a PR decision.

Criticism flew in all directions and no one was spared. Some were not convinced about the UN itself – and the role it plays. Muiz shares his thoughts on how he feels about the UN:

@muiz [9]: UN is a shining beacon of why words are so hollow & actions substantive. So much verbal support for #Palestine – so little tangible action

The US too got its fair share of criticism. Samar Dahmash Jarrah tweets:

@ArabVoicesSpeak [10]: As often, the USA will stand on the wrong side of history #UNBID

And Iraqi Mina Al-Oraibi finds Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi giving a speech at the same time as the vote as unacceptable. She tweets:

@AlOraibi [11]: Cannot believe Egyptian President chose to air his interview at same time of vote on Palestine! Talk about unacceptable

And she continues:

: From decades, Arab Presidents and politicians abuse the Palestinian cause – sad to see Morsy is no less inconsiderate.

Abbas' UN speech screened on a separation wall with Israel in Bethlehem [12]

Abbas’ UN speech screened on a separation wall with Israel in Bethlehem. Photograph shared by @georgehale [12] on Twitter

In Bethlehem, George Hale shares this photograph [above], which shows Palestinian leader Mahmood Abbas’ UN speech screened on a separation wall with Israel:

@georgehale [12]: Photo – Scene in Bethlehem where Abbas’ UN speech was screened on Israel's wall pic.twitter.com/sUTT6KjQ

Celebrations in Ramallah [13]

Celebrations in Ramallah. Photo shared by @RZabaneh [13] on Twitter

From Ramallah, Rania Zabaneh tweets scenes of celebration:

@RZabaneh [13]: And the #UNBid party goes on in Ramallah: Everyone is cheering to the tunes of “i3linha ya sh3bi” [Translation: Announce it, My People]. Picture: pic.twitter.com/CN5XYZgo

Overall, however, there was a positive vibe online. Just before the vote, Dima Khatib notes:

@Dima_Khatib [14]: Regardless of effectiveness of #UNBid: beautiful support for Palestine by majority of nations in the world, against the will of Israel/US

Meanwhile, in Israel, Joseph Dana tweets:

@ibnezra [15]: In a country of roughly 7 million people, around 500 Israelis are protesting, in Tel Aviv, in favour of Palestine Statehood at the UN now.

and he later jokes:

@ibnezra [16]: Breaking: Vatican angry that Palestine will soon encroach on its unique and ultimately feckless status at the United Nations

For more on the conversation, check out the hashtags #Palestine194 [17] and #UNBid [18].

Further Reading:

Reuters: Q+A-What's all the fuss about a Palestinian U.N. upgrade? [19]