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A White House spokesperson defended the U.S.’s decision to oppose a U.N. resolution declaring support for Palestinian statehood, stating that such a resolution should be negotiated in the Middle East. Despite this stance, the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution granting Palestinians full membership at the U.N., which was seen as a rebuke of Israel and the U.S. as global outrage over the Israel-Hamas war increases. President Biden remains committed to a two-state solution, but believes that direct negotiations between the parties are the best way to achieve this, rather than a U.N. vote.

The vote took place amidst strained relations between the U.S. and Israel, as more than 34,000 people have died in Gaza and parts of the Gaza Strip are facing famine. The U.S. is the largest supplier of weapons to Israel and Biden has leveraged this by halting a shipment of bombs and threatening to withhold artillery if Israel invades Rafah, a city where many Palestinians have sought refuge. The resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly does not establish a Palestinian state, but recognizes Palestine as eligible for full U.N. membership, which would require approval from the Security Council.

Despite the passing of the resolution, the U.S. has historically used its veto power on the Security Council to block U.N. resolutions calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. In April, the U.S. also vetoed a resolution that would have recognized full membership for a Palestinian state. The resolution adopted on Friday grants Palestinians new privileges at the U.N., such as the ability to sit among member states in alphabetical order, speak at meetings on any topic, and submit proposals and amendments.

The resolution, which was prepared by the United Arab Emirates and sponsored by 70 countries, asserts that the State of Palestine meets the criteria for U.N. membership under its charter rules and recommends that the Security Council reevaluate the matter with a favorable outcome. The resolution’s adoption was met with enthusiastic applause from those present at the U.N. General Assembly. The passing of this resolution marks a significant step in the ongoing discussions surrounding Palestinian statehood and U.N. membership.

Overall, the U.S.’s decision to oppose the U.N. resolution declaring support for Palestinian statehood reflects its stance on the matter being resolved through direct negotiations, rather than through a U.N. vote. The resolution’s passage signifies international recognition of Palestine’s qualifications for U.N. membership, presenting new opportunities and privileges for Palestinians within the U.N. system. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to be a focal point of global concern, leading to discussions and actions at the U.N. and other international forums aimed at addressing the root causes and finding lasting solutions for peace and stability in the region.

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