UN General Assembly revives Palestinian membership bid

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution backing a Palestinian bid to become a full member of the UN. It recommended that the Security Council reconsider the matter "favorably."

The resolution was adopted on Friday with 143 votes in favor and nine against, including the United States and Israel. Twenty-five countries abstained.

The floor was filled with applause when the resolution passed, and delegates formed a line to share hugs with Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN.

The Palestinians currently have non-member observer status. The resolution recognizes them as qualified to join fully.

Full membership needs a recommendation from the Security Council. However, the US delegation vetoed such a resolution last month.

In explaining his country's vote against the resolution on Friday, US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said: "Our vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood; we have been very clear that we support it and seek to advance it meaningfully. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that statehood will come only from a process that involves direct negotiations between the parties."

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized the resolution. He said on social media that the UN made a distorted and disconnected decision. He added that the delegates are sending the message that violence pays off.