U.S. Plans to Veto a U.N. Resolution on Palestinian Statehood

Debate at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday centered on the question of whether to approve a resolution recommending that Palestine be admitted as a full member of the body, a recognition of statehood the Palestinians have long sought.

But in Washington, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Vedant Patel, said the resolution was dead on arrival: The United States, which has veto power, would vote no.

The 15-member council is still scheduled to vote later in the day on the draft resolution, which recommends to the U.N. General Assembly that “the state of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations.”

Washington has long maintained that recognition of Palestinian statehood must emerge from a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to end their 75-year-old conflict.

A cSouncil resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to pass and no vetoes from the five permanent members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

During the morning debate, a top Palestinian official, Ziad Abu Amr, challenged the United States on its opposition to Palestinian statehood, asking, “How could this recognition and this membership harm international peace and security?”

Mr. Abu Amr pointed out that Israel itself was established through a U.N. resolution, not through negotiations with Arab countries. He was referring to Resolution 181, which called for Palestine to be partitioned into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was passed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1947.

The Palestinian effort to gain full U.N. membership comes six months after Hamas-led terrorist attacks on Israeli towns ignited a devastating war in Gaza. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, according to the health authorities in Gaza. The push also comes as Israel expands settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel was admitted as a full member of the U.N. in 1949.

Palestine was granted the lesser status of a nonmember observer state in 2012. The previous year, it had tried to gain full membership but failed to secure the votes of at least nine of the council’s 15 members.

The State Department confirmed on Thursday that the United States would veto the revived Palestinian bid.

“It remains the U.S. view that the most expeditious path toward statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the support of the United States and other partners,” Mr. Patel, the State Department spokesman, told reporters at a news briefing.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, on Thursday also denounced the revived Palestinian bid for statehood, calling it a “prize for terror.”

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