US vetoes Palestinian full membership bid in UN Security Council

Israel's UN envoy criticized the international body, and said that member states' willingness to vote on the request rewards Hamas for terrorism, calling it 'the vilest reward for the vilest crimes'; 12 member states supported the resolution and 2 abstained

Itamar Eichner, AP|Updated:
The United States vetoed a resolution that would have granted the Palestinians full membership in the United Nations Security Council and essentially recognizing it as a state. The measure was supported by 12 member states of the 15-member council - Slovenia, Sierra Leone, Russia, South Korea, Mozambique, Malta, Japan, Guyana, France, Ecuador, China, Algeria; two countries - Great Britain and Switzerland - abstained. The U.S. veto means that the council automatically rejects the measure.
The UN Security Council on Thursday spent several hours discussing the Palestinian request for full membership as a state in the international body. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, opposed the request during the discussion and clarified that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t meet the required conditions. Erdan also told the council that supporting the request constitutes "a huge reward for terror."
The UN vote

"The U.S. has worked vigorously to support Palestinian statehood in the context of an agreement that would solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We have been clear that premature actions in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people. As members of the security council, we have a special responsibility to ensure our actions further the cause of international peace and security, and are consistent with the requirements of the UN charter," said Robert A. Wood, the U.S. alternate representative for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, after the vote.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the U.S. veto. "The proposal to recognize a Palestinian state, half a year after the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and after the sex crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists is a reward for terrorism. I congratulate the US for vetoing this twisted proposal that was rejected today by the UN Security Council."
"It is outrageous that even half a year after the massacre of October 7, the Security Council failed to condemn the terrible crimes of Hamas," Katz added. "There will be no prizes for terrorism. Israel will continue to fight until the fall of Hamas and the release of all 133 Israeli abductees."
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אנטוניו גוטרש מזכ"ל ה או"ם ב בית ספר של אונר"א ב עמאן ירדן
אנטוניו גוטרש מזכ"ל ה או"ם ב בית ספר של אונר"א ב עמאן ירדן
Antonio Guterres
(Photo: REUTERS/Alaa Al-Sukhni)
The session was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was joined by Iran's foreign minister and other foreign officials. The vote on the Palestinian request will take place later on Thursday evening in New York.
“Ending the hostilities in Gaza will significantly diffuse tensions across the region,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the opening of the discussion. “The Middle East is on the precipice. One miscalculation, one mistake, could lead to a full-scale regional conflict that would be devastating for all involved.”
Palestinian Observer State representative Ziad Abu Amr thanked Guterres for his “wise leadership” of the organization. “We would like to express our gratitude to the countries that recognize the state of Palestine. The attacks of the Israeli army continue to terrorize our people. It’s high time to stop and for this occupation to end. We call on the august council to intervene and take the necessary measures to compel Israel to put an end to its aggression.”
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כינוס מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם בדיון לפני הצבעה בעניין בקשת הפלסטינים לקבלת חברות מלאה באו"ם
כינוס מועצת הביטחון של האו"ם בדיון לפני הצבעה בעניין בקשת הפלסטינים לקבלת חברות מלאה באו"ם
Gilad Erdan
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan criticized the Security Council for its inaction in the case of Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. “Rather than condemning Hamas’ atrocities, this council will be voting upon a resolution to recommend granting the Palestinian Authority full membership status, a Palestinian state,” he said.
“Six months after October 7, the most brutal massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, this council seeks to reward the supporters and perpetrators of these atrocities with statehood. There’s no bigger prize for terror than today’s meeting,” he added.
“The Palestinian Authority not only haven’t [sic] condemned the October 7 massacre, they are also paying monthly salaries to all the terrorists that took part in it. This is a genocide-loving entity that doesn’t deserve any status here. Granting the perpetrators and supporters of October 7 full membership status in the UN is the vilest reward for the vilest crimes. If this resolution passes, this council should no longer be known as the Security Council, but as the terror council,” Erdan told the council.
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 שר החוץ הסורי פייסל אל-מקדאד ושר החוץ האיראני חוסיין אמיר עבדאללהיאן פותחים מחדש הקונסוליה האיראנית בדמשק בבניין חדש
 שר החוץ הסורי פייסל אל-מקדאד ושר החוץ האיראני חוסיין אמיר עבדאללהיאן פותחים מחדש הקונסוליה האיראנית בדמשק בבניין חדש
Hossein Amirabdollahian
Erdan also attacked Iran during the discussion over Tehran’s attack against Israel last week. “Iran exposed itself as the terrorist state that it is. This council will be addressed by an arch-terrorist who funds and directs Hezbollah. Both I and my Arab and American colleagues agree that the man who’ll be addressing the council later today is a terrorist,” he said.
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian threatened Israel publicly during the meeting. “In case of any use of force by the Israeli regime and violating our sovereignty, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate a bit to assert its inherent rights to give a decisive and proper response to it to make the regime regret its actions,” he said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas first delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application for U.N. membership to then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2011. That initial bid failed because the Palestinians didn’t get the required minimum support of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members. Under the U.N. 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 U.N. membership was rejected, they went to the General Assembly and by more than a two-thirds majority succeeded in having their status raised from a U.N. observer to a non-member observer state in November 2012. That opened the door for the Palestinian territories to join U.N. and other international organizations, including the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinians revived their bid for U.N. membership in early April, backed by 140 countries that have recognized Palestine as an independent state.
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First published: 23:20, 04.18.24
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