Malawi abstention on Palestinian vote linked to Israel ‘sweetener’

Malawi was one of the 41 countries to abstain from UN vote  but could not derail United Nations’ de facto recognition of a Palestinian state.

The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to grant Palestinians limited recognition of statehood, prompting exuberant celebrations across the West Bankand Gaza Strip.

The governments of the United States and Israel, and many mainstream Jewish community organizations had opposed the move by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, sources at Malawi Foreign Affairs office said the abstention of the southern African country came about because Malawi retains diplomatic links with Israel.

The Israeli Government has  expressed willingness to assist Malawi to manage its water resources to enable the country to be food-secure.

“Malawi receives a lot of rainfall and has plenty of water. What is required is for the nation to manage the water. It is my hope that our government will strive to assist Malawi in managing the water so that there is food in the country,” Israeli Ambassador to Malawi, Gil Kaskel told  journalists after presenting his letters of credence to President Joyce Banda at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

Gil Kaskel Ambassador designate of the government of Israel to Malawi presenting his letters of credence to President Banda

Kaskel said: “We started as a poor nation without water or land, but we managed to come out of that situation through hard work and dedication.”

The 193-member U.N. body voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state,” a status that falls well short of independence but provides Palestinians with limited privileges as a state, including the right to join the International Criminal Court and other international treaty bodies.

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