The United Nations general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognise Palestine as a state, in the face of opposition from Israel and the US. What Abbas saidworld Updated: Dec 01, 2012 01:45 IST
The United Nations general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognise Palestine as a state, in the face of opposition from Israel and the US.
The 193-member assembly voted 138 in favour of the plan, with only nine against and 41 abstentions. The scale of the defeat represented a strong and public repudiation for Israel and the US, who find themselves out of step with the rest of the world.
Thursday's vote marked a diplomatic breakthrough for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and could help his standing after weeks in which he has been sidelined by Palestinian rivals Hamas in the Gaza conflict.
Abbas, who flew from Ramallah, on the West Bank, to New York to address the general assembly, said: "The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: enough of aggression, settlements and occupation."
A Palestinian flag was unfurled on the floor of the general assembly after the vote.
Several hundred people turned out in Yasser Arafat square in Ramallah on the West Bank, waving flags and singing along to nationalist music to mark the occasion.
Israel and the US immediately condemned the resolution. The office of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, described Abbas's speech as incitement and full of lies about Israel.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, described the vote as "unfortunate and counterproductive".
She said: "Only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two people, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel."