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Palestine Chosen To Lead UN’s Bloc Of Developing Countries

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The United Nations has chosen Palestine as its new leader of the organization’s largest bloc of developing countries, known as the Group of 77, the Palestinian ambassador announced on Tuesday.

Riyad H. Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., told The New York Times that Palestine would take over Egypt’s leadership position this coming January.

The Group of 77 was established in 1964 with the aim to represent the collective voice of developing nations around the world and promote their economic interests at the table of the U.N. The organization has now reached over 130 members, including states like Cuba, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The move has the potential to cause further tensions between Palestine and the United States and Israel, being that both countries opposed the 2012 decision to raise Palestine’s position in the General Assembly from an entity to an observer state.

“The status of a Permanent Observer is based purely on practice, and there are no provisions for it in the United Nations Charter,” the U.N.’s official website states, but they do receive other privileges, such as membership of specific bodies of the U.N., including Unesco or the International Criminal Court, The Times report notes.

Both Israel and the U.S. agreed that the elevated status does not mean Palestine is an independent state.

Symbolically, the implications of Palestine’s new leadership position is seen as an advancement for them during a very tumultuous time in the Israel-Palestine conflict. President Donald Trump administration’s has also taken steps on the side of Israel in recent months.

“They’re still denying we are a state,” Mansour told the Times. “We walk like a state. We quack like a state. Therefore we are a state.”

Israel’s representative to the U.N. Danny Danon was rather critical of the U.N.’s push for Palestine in a statement he sent to the Times.

“The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations,” he said. “It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77’s goals, and encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace.”

Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, giving them a right to self-determination while simultaneously downgrading the large Arab community living there. (RELATED: Israel Passes Controversial Law To Make Country Official Home For Jewish People)

Palestine was particularly outraged by the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, even though Palestine plans to make East Jerusalem their future capital.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has also made moves on the side of Israel, especially in her decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council over its alleged anti-Israel bias.

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