Palestinian Statehood Bid Fails to Pass UN Security Council Vote

Eight member states voted in favor of the bid, failing to meet the nine-vote threshold.

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Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council meet on Palestinian statehood, December 30, 2014.
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council meet on Palestinian statehood, December 30, 2014.Credit: AP

A Palestinian proposal calling for peace with Israel within a year and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017 failed to pass a UN Security Council vote on Tuesday.

Eight member states voted in favor of the Palestinian bid: Russia, China, France, Jordan, Chad, Luxemburg, Argentina and Chile. The bid would have required the support of nine member states to pass, although in that case Israel had expected the U.S. to veto the resolution.

The United States and Australia voted against the measure, while U.K., Rwanda, Nigeria, Lithuania, and South Korea abstained.

Prior to the vote, Netanyahu spoke to the presidents of Nigeria and Rwanda, asking them not to support the Palestinian draft resolution. Both abstained from the vote.

Nigeria was the country that determined the result of the UNSC vote; it moved from supporting the Palestinian resolution to abstaining.

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, and his assistant, David Roth, were was out of the country and did not attend the hearing. In their absence, Israel's UN embassy is being run by the number 3 man in the office, national advisor Israel Nitzan-Tikochinski.

Nitzan-Tikochinski made a 45-second statement at the Security council, saying: "I have news for the Palestinians – you cannot provoke your way to a state."

Nitzan-Tikochinski accused the Palestinians of finding "every possible opportunity to avoid direct negotiations," and urged the UN Security Council to "stop indulging the Palestinians and put an end to their march of folly."

As part of U.S. efforts to prevent the Palestinian bid from garnering majority at the Security Council, Secretary of State John Kerry over the past two days called his counterparts in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Britain, Chile, Lithuania, German and France. He also spoke with the president of Rwanda, the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Palestinian President Abbas, and Netanyahu.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power defended Washington's position against the draft in a speech to the 15-nation council by saying it was not a vote against peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The United States every day searches for new ways to take constructive steps to support the parties in making progress toward achieving a negotiated settlement," she said. "The Security Council resolution put before us today is not one of those constructive steps."

She said the text was "deeply imbalanced" and contained "unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel's legitimate security concerns." To make matters worse, Power said, it "was put to a vote without a discussion or due consideration among council members."

She did not spare Israel either. "Today's vote should not be interpreted as a victory for an unsustainable status quo," Power said, adding that Washington would oppose actions by either side that undermined peace efforts, whether "in the form of settlement activity or imbalanced draft resolutions."

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said Paris would continue its efforts to get a resolution through the council that would help move peace efforts forward.

"The peace process must evolve. If parties can't take decisions alone, the international community has to share the burden," she said.

The U.K.'s envoy to the UN said his country understands "the Palestinian frustration and the pressure to act President Abbas was under."

The Palestinian Authority announced that it will convene on Wednesday to announce its plan of action.

Senior Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat called the Palestinian bid's failure to pass the UNSC vote "a blow to international law."

"Anyone who didn't support the Palestinian proposal, supported continued Israeli defiance, settlement construction and violation of international law."

Addressing the Security Council, Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour thanked delegations that voted for the resolution, noting that lawmakers in a number of European countries have called for recognition of Palestine. He said it was time to end the "abhorrent Israeli occupation and impunity that has brought our people so much suffering."

Earlier on Tuesday, Britain declared that it cannot support the Palestinian draft proposal. On Monday, the U.S. State Department sharply criticized the Palestinian plan to submit a draft resolution at the UN Security Council.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Palestinian initiative during a meeting on Monday with the Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is currently visiting Israel.

"We expect the entire international community, at least its responsible members, to strongly oppose this dictate to the UN and the Security Council. What we need is direct negotiations and not dictated terms," Netanyahu said. 

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