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Palestine receives a non-member observer status at UN

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, December 4
The resolution on granting Palestine non-member observer status at the United Nations was adopted by a vote of 138 in favor to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-members of the UN General Assembly. The resolution was strongly opposed by Israel and the US.

“Your support for our endeavor today will send a promising message to millions of Palestinians on the land of Palestine in the refugee camps both in the homeland and the Diaspora and to the prisoners struggling for freedom in Israel’s prisons – that justice is possible and that there is a reason to be hopeful and that the peoples of the world do not accept the continuation of the occupation.” the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, told the assembly. He said that the resolution is another step taken to rectify the “unprecedented historical injustice”.

Israel’s delegation found the resolution to be unacceptable. “Because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards,” the Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, told the assembly. He is confident that the only way to achieve the peace is the direct negotiations between the parties.

Georgia was among those who supported the decision. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Jalaghania told journalist, that Georgia was carrying out intensive consultations with the U.S., Europe, Israel, including the Israeli ambassador to Georgia. Georgia is not considering Palestine’s status as a status of the UN permanent member.

Irakli Sesiashvili, the head of the Defense and Security Committee of Parliament, said that Georgia has consulted with the U.S. and Israel and the decision on Palestine’s status in UN was made according to the interests of the country, which is absolutely understandable for our partners.

The Deputy Minister said that it was not an easy decision for Georgia, as the country had to try and make is consistent with the foreign policy. Jalaghania thinks that the step taken by Georgia will not have a negative impact on the very tight relations with Israel. However, Israeli is very disappointed and surprised by the decision Georgia has made, Yuval Fuchs, the Ambassador of Israel to Georgia told journalists. He confirmed that Israel had a dialogue with the Georgian government regarding the Palestinian status. However, Georgia still supported the UN resolution. The ambassador said, his mission in the country is to advance relations between Israel and Georgia in political, cultural and in business field and he intends to continue his efforts.

The ambassador does not find the resolution to be powerful enough to create significant changes, as “there is no state or statehood that will be created by such a resolution.” Fuchs says, Israel has proven many times, that it is ready for peaceful negotiations, peace accords with Egypt and Jordan are proof of it; these accords have all been achieved only by direct negotiations between the sides.

President of the Israeli Business Chamber, Itsik Moshe, does not support the ambassador and thinks that the Israeli mission in Georgia has failed. "If I were an Israeli ambassador to Georgia, I would leave,” he said, stressing that it is important to continue the deepening of relations between the two friendly nations, so they support each other in difficult times.

Georgian experts have various positions regarding the decision the country made at the assembly. Expert for international issues, Tornike Sharashenidze, thinks that abstention would have been the best decision. The Georgian side’s decision on Palestine’s status is incomprehensible to me, he told InterpressNews. Another expert, Gia Khukhashvili, shares the same opinion and thinks that holding more discussions and an abstention would have been the wisest to do. However, he is sure that it is not worth dramatizing and Georgia is not a country that can make a lot of impact on such issues.

Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergi Kapanadze says the decision Georgia has made is overall correct and it will not harm our relations with the U.S or Israel.

The UN resolution was accepted on November 29th. Hundreds of Palestinians celebrated in the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank after the result was announced.