• UN to allow non-member observer states, including Palestine, to raise their flags at its New York headquarters
  • Palestinians see the vote as a step towards full membership, while others say it is merely symbolic

The UN has voted to allow the Palestinian flag to be raised at its headquarters in New York on Friday. 

The motion to raise the flags of non-member observer states passed by 119 votes. Eight countries, including Israel and the US, voting against, with 45 abstentions.

Palestine became a non-member observer state in 2012, and sees the votes as “a step to the recognition of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations,” according to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Israel’s representative to the UN called the resolution “a photo opportunity”.

All members called for a resumption of peace talks, but were divided over whether the symbolism of raising the flag was significant.

Peace talks moderated by the US, aiming to reach a two-state solution, stalled in April 2014. Among the sticking points were Israeli settlement building, areas or Palestinian control and improved relations between the Palestinian authority and Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip.

The Vatican, a small statelet within Rome that hosts the leadership of the Catholic church, also gained the right to fly its flag. It has not decided whether to do so or not.

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