A Palestinian flag was quickly unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly, behind the Palestinian delegation, as the final vote was cast.
In an extraordinary lineup of international support, more than two-thirds of the world body's 193 member states approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a nonmember observer state. It passed 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
The historic vote came 65 years to the day after the U.N. General Assembly voted in 1947 to recognize a state in Palestine, with the jubilant revelers then Jews. The Palestinians rejected that partition plan, and decades of tension and violence have followed.
Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned that the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their U.N. status.