Security Council plans to vote on UN membership for Palestine. But the US will block it

UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council will vote on Thursday on a resolution that would allow the state of Palestine to join the United Nations as a full member, a move that the United States opposes and will veto if necessary.

Malta, which holds the Council presidency this month, has announced that the vote will take place after a ministerial meeting on the Palestinians’ request to upgrade their status from a non-member observer state to full membership.

This is the second Palestinian attempt to become the 194th member of the United Nations, and comes as the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month, has brought the more than 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the fore .

But the Palestinian dream of international recognition as an independent state will surely fail again.

The U.S. has “consistently been very clear that premature actions in New York — even with the best intentions — will not achieve a state for the Palestinian people,” said State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel.

Palestinian membership “must be the result of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said. It “is something that would flow from the outcome of those negotiations.”

Anything that stands in the way “makes it more difficult to conduct those negotiations” and does not help achieve a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace, which “we all want,” Wood told reporters.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas first presented the Palestinian Authority’s application for UN membership to then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2011. That initial bid failed because the Palestinians did not receive the required minimum support from nine of the fifteen members of the Security Council.

Even if it does, the US vowed to veto any council resolution that would endorse Palestinian membership — and will do so again on Thursday if the Algerian-drafted resolution recommending membership receives at least nine “yeses” gets votes.

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council must recommend membership to the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, for a final vote.

After the Palestinians’ initial bid for full UN membership was rejected, they went to the General Assembly and, by a majority of more than two-thirds, succeeded in upgrading their status from UN observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012 used to be. opened the door for the Palestinian territories to join the UN and other international organizations, including the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinians revived their bid to join the UN in early April, backed by 140 countries that recognized Palestine as an independent state.

Ziad Abu Amr, special representative of the Palestinian president, said the adoption of the resolution will give the Palestinian people hope “for a decent life within an independent state.”

He said this “hope has faded in recent years due to the intransigence of the Israeli government, which has publicly and openly rejected this solution, especially after the destructive war against the Gaza Strip.”

He stressed to the Security Council that this will not be an alternative “to serious negotiations that are time-bound to implement the two-state solution” and UN resolutions, and to resolve outstanding issues between Palestinians and Israelis.

Amr asked the US and other countries opposed to UN membership how this could damage prospects for peace or harm international peace and security, when they already recognize Israel and approve of UN membership.

“Granting full membership to the State of Palestine will be an important pillar to achieve peace in our region, as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its various dimensions now transcend the borders of Palestine and Israel and impact other regions of the Middle East -East and beyond. the world,” the Palestinian envoy said.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been stalled for years and Israel’s right-wing government is dominated by hardliners who oppose the Palestinian state.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the resolution “disconnected from the reality on the ground” and warned that it “will only cause destruction in the coming years and damage any chance of future dialogue.”

Six months after the October 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas, which controlled Gaza, and the murder of 1,200 people in “the most brutal mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust,” he accused the Security Council of trying to “find the perpetrators of this atrocities with a state.”

The Israeli military offensive in response has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians and destroyed much of the territory, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which speaker after speaker denounced Thursday.

Erdan listed the requirements for UN membership: he accepted the obligations in the UN Charter and was above all a “peace-loving” state.

“What a joke,” he said. “Does anyone doubt that the Palestinians did not meet these criteria? Has anyone heard of a Palestinian leader even condemning the mass murder of our children?”