Palestinians celebrated long into the night today after the United Nations general assembly overwhelmingly backed enhanced status for their country.
Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority's upgrade to non-member observer state status, which passed by 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
Unsurprisingly, No voters included Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by US client states the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
After the vote, ecstatic Palestinians in Ramallah and other West Bank and Gaza towns waved flags, danced in the streets and set off fireworks.
A group of Israeli peace activists held a rally to support the Palestinian bid in front of the old Tel Aviv museum where Israel's independence was declared in May 1948.
"The choice of date is not accidental. It's aimed at correcting a historical mistake," said former Israeli MP Mossi Raz.
"Sixty-five years ago, the United Nations decided to establish a Jewish state and an Arab state … but it never happened.
"Today we are completing a historic decision with the establishment of Palestine."
But his optimism and solidarity with the Palestinian people was not shared in the upper echelons of the Israeli or US governments.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the UN vote as meaningless and accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of delivering a "defamatory and venomous" UN speech "full of mendacious propaganda" against Israel.
Mr Netanyahu claimed that the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and threatened that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.
And the US was even less positive. UN ambassador Susan Rice claimed that "today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path of peace."
"Today's grand pronouncements," she said grimly, "will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded."
But nothing could dim the Palestinians' sense that history, for once, had moved their way, if only a little.
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