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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US blocks Palestine’s UN membership bid

Washington was the only Security Council member to vote against the resolution

The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have paved the way for Palestine to become a member of the world body.

Palestine is currently a “permanent observer state” at the UN that participates in meetings but does not have voting rights.

Read more: US responds to Palestine’s UN membership bid

The draft resolution debated on Thursday contained a recommendation to the UN General Assembly to hold a vote on updating Palestine’s status within the organization. The document was rejected with 12 votes in favor, one against, and two abstentions.

US Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Robert Wood said that “there are unresolved questions as to whether [Palestine] meets the criteria to be considered a state.” He argued that Palestine cannot be admitted to the UN as long as the militant group Hamas controls Gaza.

Read more: Palestine asks for UN membership

Washington continues to support for the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Wood stressed.

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

The draft was heavily criticized by Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan, who argued that the resolution was “disconnected [from] the reality on the ground” and would have had “zero positive effect for any party.” He slammed the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank but not Gaza, as “a terror-supporting entity that does not deserve any status in the UN.”

Speaking at the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that the vote had shown that “for Washington, [the Palestinians] do not deserve to have their own state.”

“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,” Nebenzia said.

Palestinian Ambassador Majed Bamya insisted that the PA was “not deterred in our pursuit for Palestinian freedom and independence.”

The Security Council session took place as the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza entered its seventh month. Local authorities have reported that nearly 34,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7. The fighting broke out after a surprise raid by Hamas into Israeli territory, which left some 1,100 people dead and led to the capture of over 200 hostages.