1947 UN Partition Plan vote vs. 2012 Palestine non-member observer state vote

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution today granting non-member observer status to Palestine. The UN now classifies Palestine in the same manner as the Vatican, a delegation diplomatically known as the Holy See that cannot vote.

The resolution–with 138 countries in favor, nine opposed, and 41 abstentions–came on the 65th anniversary of the Partition Plan, the landmark resolution that defined the sovereign boundaries for a new “Arab state” and a new “Jewish state” in the former British Mandate of Palestine. The resolution resulted in what Israel calls its War of Independence, and what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba or “catastrophe.”

Only four countries in today’s nine-member opposition also voted on the Partition Plan: the US, Panama, Canada, and the Czech Republic (as part of Czechoslovakia in 1947). All of them were in favor of the 1947 motion.

Twenty-two of the 56 countries that voted on both resolutions were in favor of both the Partition Plan and today’s resolution, including Russia (as the USSR), France, Australia, and Venezuela. Thirteen who were in favor of the recent motion for Palestine were opposed in 1947. The only countries outside the Middle East to have this change of heart were Cuba, Greece, and India.

The United Kingdom as well as Colombia have abstained on both votes.

No member of South America has been opposed to either measure. However, its closest neighbor, Panama, was against the most recent resolution.

The nations spawned from the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s voted nearly unanimously in abstention. Only Serbia broke with the bloc, voting in favor of recognition.

Every Middle East nation voted against the Partition Plan in 1947, which defined Israel as a sliver of land unrecognizable to today’s shape. Today, each of them voted for Palestine’s recognition, in a resolution that also recognized Israel’s current borders including land annexed before 1967.

Correction (Nov. 30): An earlier version this graphic in this story incorrectly indicated Australia voted in favor of Palestinian recognition on Thursday. The country abstained.