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Palestine flag raised at UN headquarters for first time

30 September 2015 22:14

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The flag of Palestine has finally been raised at the United Nations headquarters in an apparent blow to the Israeli regime and the United States who opposed the move until the very last moment.

A large crowd of diplomats and reporters watched on Wednesday as the flag was raised in New York at 1:00 p.m. local time (1800 GMT)

The flag-raising came following an address delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the 70th annual session of the UN General Assembly.

Abbas said during the ceremony that the move should be dedicated to “the martyrs, the prisoners and the wounded, and to those who gave their lives while trying to raise this flag.”

People in the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based, celebrated the historic moment. Residents of Ramallah were watching the ceremony on a large screen set up in Yasser Arafat Square.

Palestinians wave their national flags as they watch a live-screening of the raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on September 30, 2015 in the city of Ramallah. ©AFP

“In this historic moment, I say to my people everywhere: raise the flag of Palestinians very high because it is the symbol of our identity,” Abbas told the crowd, adding, “It is a proud day.”

Abbas had earlier expressed hope that the flag-raining could prepare the ground for governments around the world to recognize the state of Palestine.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves next to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the Palestinian flag raising ceremony in the Rose Garden on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, September 30, 2015. ©AFP

A resolution approving the flag-raising in the UN came on September 10, when an overwhelming majority of the General Assembly members voted in favor. Only eight members, including the US, Australia and the Tel Aviv regime, voted against the move, while 119 nations said yes to it and 45 governments abstained.

Israel and the US had called the move a gesture that would not serve the cause of peace.

Iran welcomed the approval of the resolution and said the move conveys a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people and recognizes their right to determine their own fate.

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