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U.S. vetoes Palestine’s request for full UN membership

The Security Council on Thursday rejected Palestine’s request for UN membership, with the United States casting a veto.

• April 19, 2024

The Security Council on Thursday rejected Palestine’s request for UN membership, with the United States casting a veto.

In a vote of 12 in favour and one against, with two abstentions, the Council did not adopt a draft resolution that would have recommended the General Assembly to hold a vote with the broader UN membership to allow Palestine to join as a full UN member state.

The draft resolution is among the shortest in the Council’s history.

It said, “The Security Council, having examined the application of the State of Palestine for admission to the United Nations (S/2011/592), recommends to the General Assembly that the State of Palestine be admitted to membership in the United Nations.”

For a draft resolution to pass, the Council must have at least nine members in favour and none of its permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States – using their veto power.

Amid the ongoing war in Gaza, Palestine submitted a request to the secretary-general on April 2, asking that a 2011 request to become a UN member state be reconsidered.

In 2011, the Security Council considered the request but could not reach a consensus on a recommendation to the General Assembly, which, according to the UN Charter, must hold a vote involving its 193 member states.

Earlier in April, the Security Council sent the latest request to its Committee on the Admission of Member States, which met on April 8 and 11 to discuss the matter.

Palestine has been a permanent observer at the UN since 2012, before which it was an observer in the UN General Assembly.

Speaking, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said this marked the fifth time the United States has vetoed a Council resolution since the start of the current hostilities in Gaza.

The U.S. “once again demonstrated what they really think of the Palestinians,” he said. “For Washington, they do not deserve to have their own state. They are only a barrier on the path towards realising the interests of Israel.”

He said at present, an absolute majority of the global community supports Palestine’s application to become a full member of the UN.

“Today’s use of the veto by the US delegation is a hopeless attempt to stop the inevitable course of history. The results of the vote, where Washington was practically in complete isolation, speak for themselves,” he said.

Also speaking, U.S. deputy permanent representative Robert Wood said council members had a special responsibility to ensure that their actions further the cause of international peace and security and are consistent with the requirements of the UN Charter.

He said the report of the Committee on the Admission of New Members reflected that members were not unanimous as to whether the applicant met the criteria for membership, in line with Article IV of the UN Charter.

“For example, there are unresolved questions as to whether the applicant meets the criteria to be considered a state. We have long called on the Palestinian Authority to undertake necessary reforms to help establish the attributes of readiness for statehood and note that Hamas, a terrorist organisation, is currently exerting power and influence in Gaza – an integral part of the state envisioned in this resolution,” he said.

It is for these reasons that the U.S. voted “no,” he explained.

Mr Wood said the U.S. continues to support a two-state solution strongly.

“This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgement that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties,” he said. 


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