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Bahrain hails UN vote on Palestine

Manama, December 1, 2012

Palestinians in Bahrain yesterday rejoiced regaining their long lost identity after a landmark UN decision recognising a sovereign state of Palestine for the first time.

It now means that they and five million Palestinians out of homeland will have every right to proudly declare themselves "Palestinians", 65 years after being promised that they would be getting their state, our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News reported.

The UN on Thursday voted on a historic resolution that changed the Palestinian Authority's position at the UN from observer to "non-member state", a status also held by the Vatican. It was passed by the 193-nation General Assembly by a resounding 138 to 9, with 41 countries abstaining, including Britain.

Palestinian Ambassador in Bahrain Taha Mahmood Abdel Kader expressed his delight with the decision, which means a lot to Palestinians, after years of living as strangers in their own homeland and as refugees across the globe.

"Now Palestinians have every right to declare their identities and even have every right to go back home after years of scatter," he said.

"Palestine is for every Palestinian and now with it being officially recognised as a state, many changes are on the way to restore the lost identity.”

"We have been just recently accepted as a member in Fifa, won a seat in Unesco and now this landmark vote changed our status from observer to non-member state.”

"Accepting us as a state means that we have all rights for sovereignty and this means that our state is comprised of everything that Israel has occupied after 1967 and the areas still under our control with our capital being Jerusalem as it has always been."

He said that what scares Israel most is that Palestinians will now have every right to take those responsible for massacres and tortures to the International Court of Justice.

"Accountability is what most scares Israel, which has disregarded several conventions and treaties over the years, and certainly action will be taken at the right time against all of those responsible for what is happening in our country."

UN member-states overwhelmingly ignored dire warnings from the US and Israel that the decision would wreck peace talks and lead to the severance of badly needed aid funding.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who led the campaign to win support for the resolution, ignored last-minute entreaties to abandon the bid from Washington, whose isolation grew as the vote neared.

The US and Israel were joined by only a handful of other members in voting against what they said was a largely symbolic and counter-productive move.

Although a six-decade wait for Palestinian independence will not end immediately, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions gathered in the streets of the West Bank, seeing the vote as a major step in their quest for global recognition.

Earlier, President Abbas had received a standing ovation from the General Assembly as he called upon other nations to issue a "birth certificate" to Palestine.

Skaugen Gulf Petchem Carriers chief executive and director Palestinian Osama Moaeen Shehabaldeen said that getting the long-lost identity was a feeling that can't be overwhelmed by anything.

"We have always been proud to be Palestinians, but now we are more proud to say that we are Palestinians, after years of being as stateless," he said.

"It is through the support of the international community, that we have managed to get our country back on the map.”

GDN columnist Palestinian Dr Jamal Kanj said that Palestinians have just got a symbolic vote that still needs a concrete result to really mean anything.

"Palestine should have been declared a state 65 ago under the first resolution, which divided land between Palestine and Israel," he said.

"Israel was recognised and we remained without a state."

"A symbolic vote it is and it doesn't mean we are a full state and from here should come concrete work to ensure that we get a proper world status.”

Bahrain's permanent representative to the UN Jamal Fares Al Ruwaei also congratulated the Palestinians on the historic achievement.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, he affirmed Bahrain's solidarity with the Palestinian people in its struggle for freedom and independence. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Palestine | Manama |

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