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On Palestine, US Pressure Gets Pacific Abstentions, Scorn at Slovenia, ICC Games

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 29, updated Nov 30 -- When finally the UN resolution on Palestine as an Observer State came to a vote, it passed with 138 in favor, 41 abstentions and only nine against.

  Inner City Press had predicted ten negative votes, even days before the vote. But things change.

  Ultimately the negative nine were the US, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands. Panama, Nauru, Canada, Israel and the Czech Republic. Sources in the EU tell Inner City Press that the Czechs were flirting with abstention, but fell back to no.

  There were 138 votes in favor, and 41 abstentions. List here.

  A well placed European Permanent Representative, speaking exclusively to Inner City Press, expressed particular scorn for Slovenia, which after almost voting Yes, ending up abstaining.

   He told Inner City Press the Slovenian mission at the UN in New York pushed for a Yes vote, but couldn't get the capital to agree. And not having an Ambassador here, he said, was a problem.

  US pressure didn't get even ten "no" votes. But many Pacific Island states abstained. And, it was noted, Liberia did not show up. But neither did Ukraine, nor Madagascar. Two of these three accounted for small gap between Palestinian Mission's internal projection of 140, and the final 138 Yes votes.

  After the vote, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant about his statement about abstaining because he could not get assurances such as Palestine not rushing to the International Criminal Court.

   Doesn't this cheapen the ICC and make it look like a political chip to be played?

   Lyall Grant gamely answered that the assurances sought were in order to permit the peace process.

   Inner City Press asked the Ambassador of Sudan, which introduced Palestine's resolution as this month's head of the Arab Group and whose president Omar al Bashir is under ICC indictment for genocide, about the UK's position.

  He replied that it is strange that a country that is a member of the ICC would ask another not to take a case there.

  Indonesia's Foreign Minister, when asked by Inner City Press if the blockage of Palestine from UN membership by the US veto in the Security Council militates for reform said, the rules are the rules. But for how long? One wanted to ask him about the Rohingya in Myanmar. Next time.

   When Palestine's Rial Malki came to speak, Inner City Press asked him about the ICC. He said that if Israel doesn't continue with settlements and aggression, then Palestine won't go to the ICC. And if they do? Watch this site.

One wag joked that perhaps Hamas, for Gaza, could go to ICC.

Footnote: more transient insights remain on Inner City Press' Twitter feed, here.

Update: ... where you'll find this Inner City Press photograph in GA November 30, State of Palestine:

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