The new UN status doesn’t change borders, or give Palestinians control of “their borders, airspace or trade”; they still have “separate and competing governments in Gaza and the West Bank, and they have no unified army or police,” according to CBS News.
But it does grant Palestinian officials greater tools to “challenge Israel in international legal forums for its occupation activities in the West Bank, including settlement-building, and it helped bolster the Palestinian Authority, weakened after eight days of battle between its rival Hamas and Israel,” reports The New York Times.
In the lead-up to the vote, world headlines showed the mix of emotion surrounding the UN vote. In the Palestinian territories, hope was evident. The Arabic daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida had a map on its front page showing how UN member countries voted for the Palestinian bid for full membership to UNESCO in 2011, and a headline that read “Palestine the state …Tonight.”