GENEVA, Oct. 31 – “On a day when Palestinians continued firing rockets against Israeli civilian centers,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, in reaction to the vote by UNECO to admit the non-existent state of Palestine as a member, “the United Nations sent the wrong message about state privileges and responsibilities.”

A week-long assault from armed groups based in Gaza, part of the territory claimed by President Mahmoud Abbas to be under his jurisdiction, has injured 20 Israelis, and killed Moshe Ami, 56, who was mortally injured by flying shrapnel from a rocket fired Saturday at a residential neighborhood in the southern city of Ashkelon.

“The long-sought peace that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples so rightly deserve cannot be achieved by unilateral actions at the UN, but only by face-to-face talks,” said Neuer.

“The UNESCO decision may be a victory for rhetorical point-scoring on the international stage, but it does nothing to help Palestinians resolve the real issues on the ground. It’s time for Abbas and the Palestinians to choose the path of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein and return to the negotiating table.”

Out of 173 countries voting, 107 voted in favor of the Palestinian request, sufficing under UNECO rules but falling short of the two-thirds support that many expected. There were 14 opposed, including the US, Germany and Canada, and 52 abstentions, including the UK.

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