Security Council Report Reveals Discord Over Fate of Palestinian Statehood Bid

Report by UNSC Admission Committee exposes point of debate over PA gambit for full UN membership; Israel officials says vote to take place despite expected failure.

Following more than a month of deliberations, the members of the United Nations Security Council were unable to formulate an agreed-upon stance concerning the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

On Friday, the UNSC is expected to discuss a report on the subject, with Foreign Ministry officials estimating, however, that a vote on the issue would take place ahead of next weekend.

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If a vote does take place, the bid is expected to fall through even without the U.S. having to resort to its veto power, since the Palestinians failed gaining at least 9 of the 15 UNSC members to vote for Palestinian statehood.

The PA gambit is supported by 8 countries – Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Lebanon, and Gabon. However, the United Kingdom, France, Bosnia, Portugal are expected to abstain, with the United States, Germany and Colombia predicted to oppose the bid.

Israel's envoy to the UN, Ron Prosor, reported to the Foreign Ministry that the Palestinians would probably submit the vote on November 14-15, despite not having the required majority.

Prosor claimed that the Palestinians wanted to go through with the UNSC vote, even facing failure, in order to move on to the General Assembly vote on Palestine as an upgraded observer. The Israeli envoy estimated that that vote would take place on November 29, the same day the UN voted on the 1947 partition plan.

The UNSC's Admission Committee, chaired by Portugal, culminated its sessions, distributing among Security Council members a draft report saying that the panel could not reach a unanimous decision which it could pass on to the UNSC.

One subject discussed in the committee's session was whether or not the Palestinian Authority met criteria needed to recognize it as both a state and UN member. U.S. representatives raised a number of qualifications concerning the PA bid, according to which the Palestinians were not yet ready.

The report stated that there were those who felt that the PA bid did meet the required criteria, adding that the wider aspects of the gambit were also discussed. U.S. officials reportedly said in these discussions that the only way to achieve peace was through negotiations, and that talks were the way to deal with core issues.

Those UNSC members who supported the bid said that the borders of an independent Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital. However, discussions also emphasized that the recognition of an independent Palestine could not run counter to Israel's right to exist.

Another point debated was whether or not the Palestinians met the requirement for a new UN member to be peace-seeking. The report stated that several states felt the PA met those criteria in light of the Palestinian commitment to end their conflict with Israel. However, other members claimed that Hamas' unwillingness to renounce terror and its intent to destroy Israel as discounting the Palestinian bid.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority did not have control over all Palestinian territory was also a point of debate, as Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.