US Blocks Attempt to Win UN Membership for Palestine

American ambassador says move would not lead to two-state solution
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 18, 2024 6:35 PM CDT
US Vetoes Resolution Backing UN Membership for Palestine
Ziad Abu Amr, special representative of the president of Palestine, leaves a Security Council meeting at UN headquarters on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

The US vetoed a widely backed UN resolution on Thursday that would have paved the way for full United Nations membership for Palestine. The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor, the US opposed and two abstentions. The resolution would have recommended that the 193-member General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, approve Palestine becoming the 194th member of the UN, the AP reports. Some 140 countries have already recognized the state of Palestine, so its admission would have been approved.

This is the second Palestinian attempt to become a full member of the UN, and it comes as the Israel-Hamas war has put the more than 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict at center stage. Before the vote, a State Department spokesman said the US has "been very clear consistently that premature actions in New York—even with the best intentions—will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people." Palestinian membership "needs to be the outcome of the negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians," US deputy ambassador Robert Wood said. It "is something that would flow from the result of those negotiations." Anything that gets in the way "makes it more difficult to have those negotiations" and doesn't help move toward a two-state solution, which Wood said "we all want."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas first delivered the Palestinian Authority's application for UN membership in 2011. The Palestinians revived their bid in early April, backed by the 140 countries that have recognized Palestine as an independent state. Ziad Abu Amr, special representative of the Palestinian president, said adopting the resolution would grant the Palestinian people hope "for a decent life within an independent state." Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the resolution "disconnected to the reality on the ground" and warned that it "will cause only destruction for years to come and harm any chance for future dialogue."

(More United Nations stories.)

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