There is still no official country of Palestine. But the United Nations took a small step in that direction on Thursday. The U.N. General Assembly approved a request by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state. Hamas, the radical Palestinian group, backed the request by Abbas’s more moderate Fatah group. President Abbas told the assembly that the vote was the “last chance to save the two-state solution” in the Mideast.
After the General Assembly voted, a Palestinian flag was unfurled. Germany and the United States, along with Israel, voted against Abbas’ request. “These vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today, and that is why Israel cannot accept it,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
Still, Palestine Liberation Organization official, Hanna Ashrawi, stressed the importance of the UN’s vote on Palestine’s recognition. It would, “begin a process of historical redemption and healing in Palestine,” she said.
The ceasefire announced on Wednesday 21 appears to be holding.
While Hamas wants Israel to remove its blockade, Israel wants an end to the smuggling of weapons. On Monday, Gaza delegates met in Egypt to discuss moving forward. According to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s office, the topics discussed included, opening border crossings and easing Israel’s economic blockade.
Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi is expected to continue playing a key role in Gaza negotiations.