- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This week dawned routine on a U.N. General Assembly gathering — except for members of one delegation, who heralded in a new international political era by casting the first U.N. votes by Palestinians.

The Monday vote — for the election of a judge for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia — held much higher significance, representing one more step in the yearslong and widely contested Palestinian push for full U.N. membership. The Palestinians are now considered, in the eyes of the United Nations, an “entity,” akin to the Vatican, rather than a “non-member state,” Ynet News reported.

“This is a very, very special moment in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian people at the United Nations,” said the chief Palestinian observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, in Ynet News. “It’s a symbolic [step]. But it is an important one because it reflects that the international community, particularly the General Assembly, is hungry and waiting for the state of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.”

The United States and Israel were among the loudest voices of opposition in an attempt a couple years to secure Palestinian membership recognition in the Security Council. The Palestinians instead turned to the General Assembly for recognition — and were largely able to obtain voting rights because no single country maintains the power to veto in that body, Ynet News reported.