November 27, 2014 23:01 UTC

In the News

Palestinians Cheer UN General Assembly Vote

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly prior to a vote on a resolution on the issue of upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state in the United Nations, Nov. 29, 2012.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly prior to a vote on a resolution on the issue of upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state in the United Nations, Nov. 29, 2012.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS in Special English.
 
This week, the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a “non-member observer state.” The vote came a year after the General Assembly denied the Palestinian Authority full membership. There was excitement at the UN’s headquarters in New York on Thursday as the voting came to an end.
 
“The voting has been completed. Please lock the machines…(applause).”

One hundred thirty-eight UN members voted for the resolution. Nine nations were opposed. Forty-one others chose not to vote.
 
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the assembly before the vote. He said the Palestinian people would not accept anything less than an independent Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  
 
“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel. Rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.”
 
He added that supporters of the resolution are showing what he called their “principled and moral support for freedom and the rights of peoples and international law and peace.” 
 
The United States, Israel and seven other countries opposed the measure. American Ambassador Susan Rice spoke after the vote.
 
“Today's grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.”

The Israeli government denounced the UN decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the assembly vote as meaningless. Israel’s UN ambassador, Ron Prosor, said the new status will not help the peace process. Yet some Palestinians say they hope the move will lead to new peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
 
Talks between the two sides were last held in September of twenty ten. The negotiations stopped when Israel refused to extend its ban on new settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory.     
 
Being a non-member observer state gives the Palestinian Authority the right to seek the help of United Nations agencies. For example, the Palestinian Authority could ask the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli actions in Palestinian territories. 
 
There was great celebration in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the General Assembly vote. Palestinians cheered, saying the vote added support to their claim of statehood. However, the cheers could soon disappear if critics of the resolution take new economic or political action against the Palestinians.
 
On Thursday, some American Senators threatened to halt aid to the UN if the Palestinian Authority uses its non-member status to bring cases against Israel to the International Criminal Court.
 
Separately, Israel could hold back tax money it collects and passes along to the Palestinian Authority. Israel could also decide to expand Jewish settlements in Arab areas.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Ukrainian from: Ukraine
12/06/2012 9:36 PM
If that brings peace in the region a step closer, it was sure worth the try. I hope the two nations find a way to co-exist without bombing each other. There’s, however, one question in the back of my mind that I just can’t figure out. Before the modern state of Israel, Palestinian Arabs lived under Turkish and British rule for CENTURIES without clamoring for statehood or even claiming to be a separate nation. How come?


by: Rõmulo from: Brazil
12/06/2012 8:35 PM
The UN is seviço of Islamic terrorists. They want to end the Western Christian religion. Unfortunately, the West is not fighting the Islamic as it should. With Barack Hussein Obama for another four years, will get even worse.


by: JAMIL from: The Far East
12/05/2012 12:50 PM
I think the decision is a reward for terrorism. So Israel is not concerned with the decision. Israel will continue to create facts on the ground. Arabs can continue to "celebrate" without any real achievement. Arabs can do what they want, as well as Israel.


by: nurko from: sarajevo
12/05/2012 11:26 AM
Really i don't know what to say ,i only can say that i heate war...The VOA english thank you a lot....


by: Mohamed from: Morocoo
12/03/2012 9:12 AM
It was a good decision. Congratulations for the palestinians and the peoples looking for freedom.


by: DR THIERNO BA from: DAKAR
12/02/2012 10:48 AM
thank's a lot Mr Ember for this new voicing we hope you"ll come back for a new voicing next week if God willing

In Response

by: Osman from: Turkey
12/03/2012 1:59 PM
Israel must know that Palistina will live forever....


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
12/01/2012 4:52 PM
`The dispute between Israel and Palastine should have long before been solved and the latter should have been given a chance in the UN. The Palastine loud cry should find a vent and an international platform. What does the Bible says: ' Give unto God what is God's for God and Ceaser's for Ceaser'. Only good fences make good neighbours. Justice should be brought international by demarcating the area between Israel and Palastine. And high walls should be built aroud both the country's borders but a cultural coexistence should be nurtured by great artists in both the countries. Thank you.


by: Kazu.I from: Japan
12/01/2012 2:37 PM
I cannot understand the United States of America and the Jewish theory at all. It is a partial opinion. The result expresses it.


by: awalludin. from: padang, indonesia
12/01/2012 12:20 PM
voa special english is a great program ang the best way to learn english....terima kasih

In Response

by: samuel from: BRAZIL
12/04/2012 1:51 PM
A lot of thanks to VOA for brings us this modern way of learning English


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
12/01/2012 12:11 PM
Please cease fire. Let's talk with each other. Let's seek the way to compromize. Let's share the grief of refugees and displaced person. Please get along with each other.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • Audio North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

  • New members of the Afghan National Army attend their graduation ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 23, 2014.

    Audio US Says Military Operations in Afghanistan Remain the Same

    Also in the news, India-Pakistan tensions remain at a major South Asia conference in Kathmandu, Nepal; Hong Kong police arrest student leaders and clear streets around Mong Kok; The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of Colombia frees two soldiers to restart peace talks with the government. More

  • Video Thanksgiving, a Traditional American Holiday

    Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The month of November comes in autumn, the main season for harvesting crops. Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest festival like those found in many cultures. It is viewed as the most traditional of all American holidays. More

  • A flock of 30-pound tom turkeys mill around in the barn at  Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen, Mass.,Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. The 60-acre farm expects to sell about 9,000 turkeys this holiday season.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Audio Turkey: A Case of Mistaken Identity

    Many think the bird comes from the nation of Turkey. But turkey is not from Turkey. In fact, the fact that the turkey bird is called by that name is one big mistake. Find out in today's Words and Their Stories. More

Featured Stories

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. | The Making of a Nation More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs