UN Security Council To Hold Contentious Vote On Palestinian Statehood

UN Security Council To Hold Contentious Vote On Palestinian Statehood
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Friday will witness another Gaza-related showdown in a very divided United Nations Security Council, as council member Algeria has prepared a draft resolution for the body recognize a Palestinian state.

It would require nine votes and no vetoes on the part of the US, Britain, France, Russia or China in order to pass – which means it won’t happen, given the US as a close ally of Israel is expected to surely block it. The plan ultimately seeks to bestow on Palestine full UN membership status.

Looking ahead to the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Wednesday: “We do not see that doing a resolution in the Security Council will necessarily get us to a place where we can find … a two-state solution moving forward.”

The US position has long been that a Palestinian state must be born out direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and not accomplished superficially within an external forum like the UN.

Israel has clearly rejected that it will allow for a Palestinian state so long as Hamas still exists, and PM Netanyahu has even linked the more secular-leaning Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to ‘terrorism’. He has also rejected a prior US call to allow the PA to take over and administer the Gaza Strip. The reality is that the current Gaza war makes the prospect of achieving a Palestinian state more distant than ever.

According to some background via Reuters:

The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the 193-member UN General Assembly in 2012. But an application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the Security Council and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.

The UN Security Council has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

The UK too has long said it will not recognize Palestine outside of a broader deal for a two-state solution that involves Israeli assent.

Spain was the most recent country to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, which was announced earlier this month. Those EU states to have previously done so include Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Ireland and Malta have also recently said they are on board and plan to do so.

The current war in Gaza and soaring civilian death toll among Palestinians as Israel continues its operation seeking to eradicate Hamas and free the hostages has given extra impetus to those officials in Europe who have wanted to see Palestinian recognition. 

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