Labeled for noncommercial use. © Andrew Kelly / Reuters

By Noura Dakka, News Editor

Fluttering under the grey skies, the Palestinian Flag has been raised outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York for the first time. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, informed the U.N. General Assembly that the Oslo Peace Accords no longer retain Palestinian authority, and with that being said, a ceremony took place today, September 30 at 1:16 p.m to raise the Palestinian flag.

“This is a day of pride for Palestinians around the world. It is a day of hope,” said UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon at the flag raising ceremony. “Now is the time to restore confidence by both Israelis and Palestinians for a peaceful settlement and, at last, the realization of two states for two peoples.”

The Oslo Peace Accords are a series of peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian commissions directed by Norwegian Foreign Minister, Johan Jorgen Holst, beginning in the 1990s. Mahmoud Abbas indicated during the General Assembly that Israel has not been following the Oslo Accords. “They leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them,” said Abbas.  

Earlier this month the U.N General Assembly proposed to raise the Palestinian and Vatican flags, but Israel, The United States, and six other countries opposed, while 45 countries withheld from voting. Even though the official member states have the right to raise their flag, the General Assembly allowed the Palestinian and the Vatican, nonmember observers, to have their flags join the rest.

“I always feel guilty about how we can’t really do much for Palestine and how we are never there,” said Bergen Community College student Doaa Aladdin. “So I was really happy to see the flag being raised only because it shows the people in Palestine that there is still hope, that it’s not over,” said Aladdin, a Palestinian herself.