This week, in an historic vote, the United Nations passed resolution A/69/L.76, which will raise the flags of non-member observer states with permanent status including Palestine and the Vatican. Obviously, the resolution was opposed by the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and Tuvalu, but it was an even bigger surprise seeing Israel, the United States, Australia, and Canada vote no, as well. Despite opposition by these eight voting members, the resolution passed with 119 members in favor and 45 abstentions.  Most European Union members were among those abstaining, aside from France and Sweden who voted yes. Right after the resolution passed, Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN Ron Prosor claimed the Palestinian flag-raising is “a photo-op… to use the prestige of the U.N. as a backdrop for this charade.”  U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power offered an even bleaker statement, claiming that “no vote can turn an empty symbolic gesture into a state.” Indeed, the flag does not offer official statehood, but it is an official recognition of nationhood. And of course, no vote in the U.N. goes without several ambassadors issuing ever-so-diplomatic statements about the need for further negotiations and peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians—which have gone nowhere for twenty years. This seems like status quo for everyone else, but we at the Countdown team like the Palestinian flag waving.