Qatar Abstains From Voting Itself Onto UN Space Coalition

Israel was finally accepted Thursday into a key international space coalition.

Thirty-two years after establishing its space agency the Jewish state got the nod into the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, receiving the nod from 117 nations — with only Namibia voting against its acceptance, the Jerusalem Post reports.

“This day marks an important achievement for Israel,” said Hadas Meitzad, who led the efforts on behalf of the Israeli Mission to the UN. “Israel’s advanced capabilities in the field of peaceful uses of outer space, combined with a delicate and complex diplomatic effort, granted Israel’s acceptance to this important committee.”

It took “intensive diplomatic efforts” to secure the acceptance after reps for Syria and the Arab Group long opposed Israel’s inclusion in the Vienna-based committee.

“The vote today proves that there are some countries who find it more important to bash Israel than to contribute to the International community, like Qatar who abstained on the vote, even though it was a vote on its own acceptance to the committee,” the Israeli mission said in a statement.

The committee, which was established in 1959, governs the exploration and use of space for peace, security and development.

For the first time since Israel’s establishment in 1948, Egypt has voted in the Jewish state’s favor in the United Nations.

The vote came during elections for membership in the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) late last week.

The vote for Israel triggered angry criticism among Arab social media users, with some even creating a hashtag “Egypt votes for Israel” to criticize the vote.

In the face of the backlash Egyptian officials scrambled to clarify that they had only voted for Israel in order to enable the election of several Arab states as well.

“Egypt’s commitment to support the candidate of the Arab countries is the main motive behind the vote in favor of the resolution,” Egyptian Foreign Ministetry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told The Cairo Post Saturday.

According to The Post, Egypt and other Arab General Assembly members requested to vote for each of the six states on the list individually. That request was denied amid fierce opposition from the US delegation, and countries had to vote for the list in one go.

The list of new members – which was accepted with 117 votes for and only one (Namibia) against – also included El Salvador, Sri Lanka, the United Arab of Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

221 countries abstained from the vote, including 10 Arab countries openly hostile towards Israel: Qatar, Tunisia, Syria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq and Algeria.

Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace deal in 1979, but despite the official and high-level security and economic ties between Jerusalem and Cairo anti-Semitism and fierce anti-Israel sentiment is still widespread among the general public, where “normalization” with the Jewish state is still seen as taboo.

That taboo may be gradually breaking however, as a small but growing number of Egyptian figures call for an end to hostility, noting the two countries’ common fight against Islamist terrorists in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.

Courtesy of and

Photo via wikipedia

Posted in Israel and tagged , , , , .