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Palestinian state (kinda)

Al Jazeera's headline: "Palestinians celebrate status upgrade at UN." Like from economy to business?

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state on Thursday, delivering a long-sought victory for the Palestinians. But it was diplomatic defeat for Israel and the US, two of the nine countries which opposed and voted against the upgrade.

In all, 138 countries voted in favour and 41 others abstained.

A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation.

The new status is an indirect recognition of the Palestinians' claims on statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It allows them to join a number of UN agencies, as well as the ICC.

Abbas, the Palestinian Authority chief, addressed the General Assembly, saying that Palestinians were not seeking to "delegitimise" Israel, but to affirm the legitimacy of Palestine as a state.

Assuming states are a good thing, this is a good thing. The sooner we all figure out that Israel is a state like any other, with no more claim on the United States than any other state -- AIPAC [cough] -- the better.

"People here know that when they wake up on Friday they'll still be living under an Israeli occupation. They won't, for instance, be in control of their own borders," reported Nadim Baba from Ramallah, West Bank, amid deafening noise from ecstatic Palestinians.

"What they do hope is that when it comes to negotiations with Israel, the fact that Palestine might be able to refer Israeli officials to bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC) could put pressure on Israel to halt or slow down its settlement expansion."

I don't think Israel will do anything with its suburban-scale empire other than try to expand it, but if Palestinian suits slow the process, and also strengthen the ICC -- we have our own war criminals to deal with, after all -- then it's all good (again, assuming a society of states).

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