U.N. Votes to Recognize Palestine as State Despite U.S. Opposition

By  | 

The United Nations has voted overwhelmingly to recognize a Palestinian state.

The resolution upgrading the Palestinians' status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by a more than two-thirds majority of the 193-member world body. The vote was 138-9, with 41 abstentions. Today's vote was a long-sought victory for Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the U.S.

A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation. In the West Bank city of Ramallah, hundreds crowded into the main square waved Palestinian flags and chanted "God is great." Others hugged, honked horns and set off fireworks.

But real independence remains a distant and elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis. Israel accuses the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations. The United States and Israel voted against recognition.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the recognition "unfortunate and counterproductive." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the vote was in violation of previous agreements and that his nation will act accordingly. He didn't explain what steps will be taken.