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  4. Israel denounces UN resolution backing Palestinian rights, shreds copy of charter | VIDEO

Israel denounces UN resolution backing Palestinian rights, shreds copy of charter | VIDEO

The UN voted overwhelmingly on granting additional Palestinian rights on Friday, with 143 members in favour, nine against and 25 abstaining. Israel's act of protest was intended to show a mirror that the UN was destroying the principles inscribed in its own Charter.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New York Published on: May 11, 2024 10:35 IST
Israel, Israel UN, Gilad Erdan, UN Charter
Image Source : REUTERS Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan destroys with a machine a copy of the United Nations Charter.

New York: The UN General Assembly on Friday voted by an overwhelming margin to grant new "rights and privileges" to Palestine and called on the Security Council to reconsider its request to become the 194th member of the United Nations. The resolution was passed with 143 votes in favour, including India's while nine countries voted against it and 25 abstained.

The resolution acknowledges Palestine's qualification for UN membership and recommends that the Security Council "reconsider the matter favourably." The resolution outlines additional rights and privileges for Palestine, effective at the 79th session of the General Assembly in September 2024, including participation in conferences and meetings.

However, Israel strongly denounced the UN move to grant additional rights to Palestine, coming on the heels of the seven-month-long war between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza. In a dramatic moment, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan shredded several pages of the UN Charter using a machine in protest against the move.

Watch Erdan shredding the UN charter

Erdan took a small shredding machine at the General Assembly podium and shredded several pages of the U.N. Charter as he addressed the Assembly. He said the gesture was intended to mirror what he described as the Assembly's own destruction of the Charter's principles after the resolution on Palestinian rights.

"This is your mirror, so that you can see exactly what you are inflicting upon the UN Charter with this destructive vote. You are shredding the UN Charter with your own hands. Yes, yes. That's what you're doing. Shredding the UN Charter. Shame on you. Thank you, Mr President," he said while addressing the General Assembly.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes seven months into a war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, which the UN considers to be illegal. Notably, Israel's assault came after Hamas-led militants launched an unprecedented attack that killed 1,200 people, and the Israeli retaliation has killed nearly 35,000 people in Gaza.

Palestine's status in the UN

It is important that 140 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly have already recognised Palestine as a state. Palestine had first submitted its request for admission as a full UN member in 2011, which failed because the Palestinians didn't get the required minimum support of nine of the Security Council's 15 members. They went to the General Assembly and by more than a two-thirds majority succeeded in having their status raised from a UN observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012.

On April 2, 2024, Palestine again sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requesting that its application for full UN membership be considered again. On April 18, the US vetoed a widely-supported resolution in the UN Security Council on a Palestinian bid to be granted full membership, effectively blocking the way for the recognition of a Palestinian state. 

The 15-nation Council voted on the draft resolution that would have recommended to the UN General Assembly "that the state of Palestine be admitted to membership in the United Nations". The resolution got 12 votes in its favour, with Switzerland and the UK abstaining and the US casting its veto. To be adopted, the resolution required at least nine Council members voting in its favour, without any vetoes by any of its five permanent members - China, Russia, France, the UK and the US.

"The United States continues to strongly support a two-state solution. This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood but instead is an acknowledgement that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties," Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood told the Security Council, adding that there are “unresolved questions” as to whether Palestine meets the criteria to be considered a State.

(with inputs from Reuters)

ALSO READ | India supports UNGA resolution backing Palestine's full UN membership bid

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