The Palestinian Authority is changing its official name to Palestine following Thursday’s overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly to upgrade the status of the Palestinian mission to that of non-member observer state.
The new name will appear in the letterhead of official forms and documents, and on all government websites, according to Israel Radio.
The Palestinian Communications Ministry will also reportedly petition the International Telecommunication Union and the Universal Postal Union for frequencies and country codes, in a further attempt to capitalize on what the PA views as a de facto recognition of statehood by the international community.
Officials in Ramallah appear to be quickly maneuvering to translate the symbolic recognition by the global body into diplomatic currency.
Palestinian sources are reporting the PA delegation in Belgium will be upgraded to a diplomatic mission, and that Leila Shahid, Ramallah’s representative in Brussels, will be elevated to the status of ambassador.
Officials in Israel see Thursday’s vote in New York City very differently.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to assert Thursday night that the UN vote was “meaningless” and said Israel would act accordingly. And on Friday, the Israeli government announced that it was authorizing the construction of 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, while officials and pundits declared the Oslo Accords, which barred unilateral moves by either side, dead.
The PA condemned the construction announcement, with President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, saying that it was a slap in the face of the international community that voted in favor of the status upgrade at the UN.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred Friday to the Israeli announcement, saying, “these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.”