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Thursday 29th November 2012

Avaaz: UN Recognition of Palestine as 194th State is “historic victory”  

Despite fierce lobbying by Israel and the US, Palestine was today welcomed as the world’s 194th state with 138 countries voting in favour of their bid for statehood  -- more than two-thirds of the world’s nations.  

Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz said:
“Financially starved and diplomatically threatened, President Abbas faced down all obstacles to bring this bid, and won a historic victory. Today Palestine won not only a state but an international community willing to back it. Decades of US/Israeli hegemony over this conflict have been challenged. This was the last chance for a two-state solution, and it breathes new hope into efforts for peace.”

Avaaz welcomed the development as historic for the Palestinian people, and a massive step forward for peace, for the following reasons:


  • This is the first and only time the United Nations will recognize Palestine as a state. Palestine was already a ‘non-member observer’ of the UN - the impact of this vote is to recognize them as a state.

  • The US & Israel lobbied fiercely against the vote, and their loss signals an unprecedented failure of their ability to direct global diplomacy on this conflict.  

  • This might have been the last chance for the 2-state solution for peace. Palestinian support for 2 states has been dropping fast beneath Israeli settlements that now cover 60% of Palestine.

  • The Palestinians now have access to international justice mechanisms like the ICC to seek redress for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  • This is the first progress in the peace process we’ve seen in years. It dislodges a dangerous status quo and will likely lead to renewed and more promising talks.

Avaaz has been campaigning in support of this bid for the past eighteen months, contributing to swinging France, Belgium and Spain from an abstention to vote yes and Germany from a no vote to abstention.

Leila Chadid, General Delegate of Palestine to the European Union said:
"Avaaz and its members across the world have played a crucial role in persuading governments to support the Palestinian people’s bid for a state and for freedom and peace. They have stood with us throughout and their solidarity and support will be remembered and cherished across Palestine."

Avaaz campaigning included the following activities:

  • Nearly 1.8 million people have signed the Avaaz petition for statehood.
  • Avaaz carried out several public opinion polls across Europe which show an average of 79% of Europeans are in favour of statehood.
  • Members from across the world sent tens of thousands of emails, facebook messages and tweets to leaders across Europe and made thousands of calls to Foreign Ministries and Heads of State.
  • Last year, Avaaz sailed a flotilla of boats down the Hudson River in New York during the 67th General Assembly to call on the UN to recognise Palestine.
  • Avaaz twice raised a 4-storey high Palestinian flag outside the European Commission to deliver the call for EU recognition at the Foreign Affairs Council.
  • Avaaz staff held dozens of high level advocacy meetings with officials to press for recognition.
  • Today, thousands of people across the world are celebrating the new state of Palestine on Twitter and on Facebook.

For further information or interview requests please contact Sam Barratt in the UK on +44 7909 836139 / [email protected] or Allison Johnson in New York on +1-617-905-1536 / [email protected]

Avaaz is a 17-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages). Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 19 countries on 5 continents and operates in 16 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's latest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.