The raising of the Palestinian flag, a symbol of identity for its people, at the headquarters of the United Nations is a historic gesture that will bring pride to the broader Palestinian population across the world, according to the state’s new South African ambassador. The flag was raised high at the U.N offices in New York on Thursday alongside that of the Vatican flag, both observer states within the U.N.
119 countries voted in favour of the resolution while a further 45 opted to abstain from the vote. As expected, Israel and the United States lead a list of eight states who opposed the motion to have the flag lofted alongside member states of the U.N; a list that included Australia and Canada.
Newly appointed Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani said the move would bring hope of some action that could eventually bring about freedom and self-governance for the Palestinians.
“I refer to U.N general secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon’s speech (prior to the vote) when he said that symbols were important, and could lead to action,” he said.
The occasion was accompanied by a speech from Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas who declared that as long as Israel refused to commit to signed agreements, seize its illegal settlement construction programme, and release Palestinian prisoners detained without trial, his state would not be bound by peace agreements between the two.
“On this occasion I’ll be happy, on behalf of the president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas and on behalf of our people to express our gratitude and appreciation to President Jacob Zuma and the people of South Africa, for unwavering and constant support with our just struggle for freedom and self-determination,” he said.
Dajani said that whilst the raising of the flag would not bring about an end to the occupation or change to reality of such oppression, but it would give a push to the international community to take action. In addition, U.N member states would also be forced to see the Palestinian flag whenever they walked into the organisation’s headquarters, reminding them of the Palestinian issue and their failure to find a fair and just solution to it.
“It will not change the reality of the occupation, but it is encouraging the international community to do it’s best to pressure on Israel to end the occupation,” he reiterated. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)