UNITED NATIONS — More than 130 countries voted Thursday to grant Palestine the upgraded status of nonmember state in the United Nations, a stinging defeat for Israel and the United States and a boost for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, who was weakened by the recent eight days of fighting in Gaza.
The new ranking could make it easier for the Palestinians to pursue Israel in international legal forums, but it remained unclear what effect it would have on attaining what both sides say they want — a two-state solution.
Still, the vote offered a showcase for an extraordinary international lineup of support for the Palestinians and constituted a deeply symbolic achievement for their cause, made even weightier by arriving on the 65th anniversary of the General Assembly vote that divided the former British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab — a vote that Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth.
The tally, in which 138 members voted yes, nine voted no and 41 abstained, took place after a speech by Abbas to the General Assembly, in which he called the moment a “last chance" to save the two-state solution amid a narrowing window of opportunity.
Abbas and Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, blamed the other side for not doing enough to pursue peace.
“We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process," Abbas said.
Prosor, speaking after Abbas but before the vote was taken, said the U.N. resolution would do nothing to advance the process.
“Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace," he said. “Don’t let history record that today the U.N. helped them along on their march of folly."