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No Security Council 'consensus' on Palestinian UN membership

No Security Council 'consensus' on Palestinian UN membership
April 12, 2024 Web Desk

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Members of the UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus Thursday on a bid by Palestinians for full UN membership, meaning the longshot effort is now likely headed for a more formal council vote.

The Palestinians, who have had observer status at the world body since 2012, have lobbied for years to gain full membership, which would amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Any request to become a UN member state must first pass through the Security Council -- where Israel's ally the United States wields a veto -- and then be endorsed by the General Assembly.

In light of Israel's offensive in Gaza, Palestinians revived a 2011 UN membership application last week, prompting the Security Council to launch a formal review process. This included the ad hoc committee that failed to reach consensus Thursday and was composed of the council's member states.

During its closed-door meeting 'there was no consensus,' said Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who holds the council's rotating presidency for April. However, two-thirds of the members were in favor of full membership, she said, without specifying which countries.

While the ad hoc committee can only move forward by consensus – loosely speaking, when everyone is in agreement – any Security Council member may now put forth a resolution for vote on the matter.

According to diplomatic sources, a vote could be held April 18, brought forth by Algeria which represents Arab nations on the Council. Even if the matter were to receive the necessary nine of 15 votes, observers predict a veto from the United States.

Washington maintains the United Nations is not the place for hashing out Palestinian statehood, which it stresses should be the result of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. "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 Gaza war began after Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack against Israel left 1,170 people dead, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has martyred at least 33,545 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.