AFP reports: The United States and Israel downplayed Thursday the Palestinians’ new upgraded status at the UN, saying it changed nothing in actual practice and even made peace with the Jewish state a remoter prospect.
Palestinians rejoiced at the historic albeit largely symbolic vote at the UN General Assembly in New York, firing guns into the air in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, shooting off fireworks and embracing each other with glee.
In between the two ends of the spectrum were major powers like Britain, which said it respected the vote but abstained on the grounds that the Palestinians had not unconditionally agreed to negotiations on a lasting two-state deal with Israel.
Britain pledged support for efforts to reach an elusive peace accord, as did France, which voted for the resolution but called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks without conditions and as soon as possible.
The Vatican welcomed the 138-9 vote, saying it reflected the majority sentiment of the international community and the Holy See had long encouraged more global involvement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Peace needs courageous decisions,” it said in a statement.