Yesterday the vote (138 in favor, 9 against, with 41 abstentions) at the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the UN to that of non-member observer state.
The move has largely been described in Israeli media, as in the Arab world, as a defeat for the state.
Many here in Israel see a caution to Israel from the international community.
It was an overwhelming show of support for the Palestinians. The message sent to Israel by Germany, France, Britain, Italy and other 'Israel friendly' countries is that their patience with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is wearing off.
In response to the UN vote, late today, Israel has defiantly authorized the construction of 3,000 more housing units in the occupied Palestinian territories, and is stating that it will accelerate further settlement construction.
What some observers said prior is now coming true – that the vote would serve to harden the Israeli stance. However the Palestinians had little to loose as settlement activity has been up under the Netanyahu Government – a government that looks to be reelected in January with an even stronger right wing nationalistic make-up.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has long embraced the non-violent approach – and yet was labeled a terrorist by senior figures in the current Israeli government, while at the same time being called a man for peace – particularly by Israel's President Shimon Perez and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who many say came the closet to sealing a deal with the Palestinians for Peace.
Mr. Olmert supports the UN move at the General Assembly saying it was in-line with previous Israeli government policies towards a two state solution.
With the peace process stalled, Olmert believes Israel must advance because “time is running out for Israel more than for the Palestinians,” for the two-state solution.
Mr. Abbas has gone the route of diplomacy while Israel continued to take land that would in effect be part of a Palestinian State.
This move angered the Palestinians because the Road Map for Peace put forth by the Bush Administration it outlined that Israel was obligated to stop settlement expansion including so-called 'natural growth'.
This has not happened under the Netanyahu government and the Palestinian Authority has said it will not return to peace talks without a freeze in settlement building.
Land is what this is all about – because the UN resolution defines the boarders of the Palestinian State as the 1967 lines of the West Bank including Gaza and what is commonly referred to as East Jerusalem.
This, the Palestinians hope, will give them needed leverage to block Israel's continued settlement expansion policy.
Middle East Correspondent