US Vetoes Palestinian Request For Full UN Membership


US vetoes Palestinian request for full UN membership

UNITED NATIONS, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th Apr, 2024) The Security Council today blocked Palestine’s bid to become a full member of the United Nations due to a United States veto on a widely-supported resolution that would have recommended the granting of such status.

The proposal, submitted in the 15-member Council by Algeria, received 12 votes in favour, with the United States casting a negative vote and Switzerland and the United Kingdom abstaining.

Before the vote, diplomats said the US mission had been trying to convince one or two other council members to vote against, to mitigate Washington’s isolation on the issue, but American officials said they were resigned to having to wield the US veto once more in support of Israel.

“We don’t want to replace anyone; we want to enter your club as equals,” Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour told the council. He said they would not give up because the resolution was vetoed.

“The State of Palestine is inevitable,” he said. “It is real.”

A Council resolution requires at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes from its five permanent members — China, France, the Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — to pass. The Algerian draft failed, owing to a negative vote cast by a permanent member.

If adopted, the draft would have had the Security Council recommend to the 193-member General Assembly that “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership in the United Nations”.

In 2011, Palestine submitted an application to become a full UN Member State. Although that aspiration did not materialize, it obtained the status of a non-member observer State in November 2012 through an Assembly vote of 138 in favour to nine against (Canada, Czech Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States), with 41 abstentions.

An application for admission to UN membership must be approved by the Council before being forwarded to the Assembly, where the matter requires at least two-thirds support to pass.

Introducing the draft resolution, the representative of Algeria said that he is doing so on behalf of his Government, the Arab Group, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, and countless peace-loving countries, urging Council members to vote for the text and the sake of Palestinians.

“It is the least we could do to honour the debts we owe to its people,” he said. Palestine fulfils membership criteria as defined in the UN Charter.

“It is time for Palestine to take its rightful place among the community of nations,” he declared, adding: “Peace will come from Palestine’s inclusion, not from its exclusion.”

Failing to do so is a denial of the Council’s responsibilities, an unforgivable mistake, and a license to continue injustice and impunity.

Amid the ongoing war in Gaza, Palestine had submitted a request to the Secretary-General on 2 April, asking that a 2011 request to become a UN Member State be reconsidered.

In 2011, the Security Council considered the request but was not able to find unity in sending a recommendation to the General Assembly, which according to the UN Charter must hold a vote involving its 193 Member States.

Earlier this month, the Security Council sent the latest request to its Committee on the Admission of Member States, which met on 8 and 11 April to discuss the matter.

Palestine has been a Permanent Observer at the UN since 2012, before which it was an observer in the UN General Assembly.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said this marked the fifth time the United States has vetoed a Council resolution since the start of the current hostilities in Gaza.

The US “once again demonstrated what they really think of the Palestinians”, he said. “For Washington, they do not deserve to have their own State. They are only a barrier on the path towards realising the interests of Israel.”

He said at present, an absolute majority of the global community supports Palestine’s application to become a full member of the UN.

“Today’s use of the veto by the US delegation is a hopeless attempt to stop the inevitable course of history. The results of the vote, where Washington was practically in complete isolation, speak for themselves,” he said.

US Deputy Permanent Representative Robert Wood said Council members have a special responsibility to ensure that their actions further the cause of international peace and security and are consistent with the requirements of the UN Charter.

He said the report of the Committee on the Admission of New Members reflected that there was not unanimity among members as to whether the applicant met the criteria for membership, in line with Article IV of the UN Charter.

Wood said the US continues to strongly support a two-State solution.

“This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgment that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties,” he said.e

Chinese Ambassador Fu Cong said the decades-long dream of the Palestinian people has been quashed at a time when the admission of Palestine as a full member of the UN is more urgent than ever before.

Over the past 13 years, the situation in Palestine has changed, namely settlement expansion, so questioning Palestine’s ability to govern is not acceptable, he said.

The establishment of an independent State is an inalienable right that cannot be questioned, he continued. The admission of Palestine as a full member at the UN would indeed help in negotiations with Israel on a two-State solution.

The wheels of history are rolling forward, and Palestine and Israel will one day live in peace, side by side, Fu said, pledging China’s support with a view to seeing that day happen.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Recent escalations make it even more important to support good-faith efforts to find lasting peace between Israel and a fully independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

“Failure to make progress towards a two-state solution will only increase volatility and risk for hundreds of millions of people across the region, who will continue to live under the constant threat of violence,” he told the Council.

Guterres also said that Israel’s commitment to improving aid access to the Gaza Strip has had limited or no impact.

“Apparent progress in one area is often cancelled out by delays and restrictions elsewhere,” the secretary general said.

“For example, although the Israeli authorities have cleared more aid convoys, those clearances are often granted when it is too late in the day to make deliveries and return safely,” he explained. “So the impact is limited, and sometimes nil.