But the UN decision, opposed by Israel and the United States appeared to offer little immediate or practical change, with even Palestinian leaders emphasizing the promise of the status change.
The strong backing for enhanced Palestinian status, including from a large number of European countries, reflected a widespread desire to boost the fortunes of Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority at a moment when the militant Hamas is enjoying newfound support, particularly among Arab countries. Supporters of the initiative said it would enhance chances for peace in the region.
But Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Proser, told the Assembly before the vote that the bid “doesn’t advance peace – it pushes it backwards” by circumventing negotiations between the parties.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the vote “changes nothing.”
“Peace can only be achieved one way,” he said, “through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, and not through one-sided decisions at the UN that totally ignore Israel’s vital security needs.”