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UN fails to accept Palestine statehood amid US opposition

Members meet for a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York City, the US, on July 17, 2023. (Photo by Getty Images)

Members of the UN Security Council have failed to reach a consensus on the Palestinian bid to become a full member state of the United Nations.

Two-thirds of the council’s members were in favor of full Palestinian membership, but “there was no consensus” during the closed-door meeting held on Thursday, said Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who holds the council's rotating presidency for April.

The US is a staunch opponent of Palestinian statehood, arguing that the United Nations is not the place for hashing out the status, which it says should be the result of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Last week, Palestinians revived a 2011 application for a full UN membership, which would amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood in light of Israel's genocidal war on Gaza.

This prompted the Security Council to launch a formal review process through the ad hoc committee, which was composed of the council's member states and met on Thursday.

The Biden administration, however, indicated that it opposes the renewed Palestinian bid to obtain full-member state status.

“We have always made clear that, while we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state… that is something that should be done through direct negotiations through the parties — something we are pursuing at this time — and not at the United Nations,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said during a press briefing.

US opposition to the initiative in the UN Security Council would all but block it, given that Washington has veto power.

Palestine has been recognized as a "non-member observer state” of the UN since 2012

After the Thursday meeting, a more formal council vote is expected.

AFP quoted diplomatic sources as saying that a vote could be held on April 18, brought forth by Algeria which represents Arab nations on the Security Council.

Even if the bid were to receive the necessary nine of 15 votes, observers predict a veto from Israel’s staunch ally, the United States.

“All we ask for is to take our rightful place among the community of nations,” Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters earlier this week.

The Israeli atrocities in Gaza have increased sympathy towards Palestinians and international calls for the recognition of the State of Palestine.

Spain, Australia support Palestinian statehood 

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong defended her remarks that she made earlier this week that was seen as a hint that Australia could recognize the Palestinian statehood in the near-term.

She said that the Palestinian statehood is the "only pathway to enduring peace in the region.” 

On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that Spain is “ready to recognize the Palestinian state.”

“The international community can’t help the Palestinian state if it doesn’t recognize its existence,” said Sanchez during a parliamentary debate. He added that recognizing Palestine is “what’s just, what’s demanded by the social majority” and is “in Europe’s geopolitical interest.”

'Ireland wishes to recognize state of Palestine'

Ireland is also pushing for recognition of the Palestinians' rights with Taoiseach Simon Harris advocating for the Palestinian State.

“I believe different member states will adopt different positions in relation to recognising the state of Palestine. But Ireland won’t be waiting for that to be a European approach,” he said in a meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Thursday.

 “Ireland wishes to recognise the state of Palestine, I’d like to do that with a number of other countries,” he said.

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