Palestinian statehood bid fails at U.N. council

Dec 31, 2014, 12:09 AM EST
Riyad Mansour (R), Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, is seen during the United Nations (UN) Security Council meeting in New York on December 30, 2014 before the voting for an Arab-backed draft resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories within three years.
AFP/Getty Images

The U.N. Security Council has rejected a resolution demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories within three years. The BBC reports:

Jordan submitted the motion after it had been agreed upon by 22 Arab states and the Palestinian Authority.

Eight members of the 15-strong Security Council voted for it while the US and Australia voted against. The resolution, condemned by Israel as a "gimmick", needed the support of at least nine members in order to pass.

Even if it had secured the required nine votes, the US would have used its veto power to stop the adoption of the resolution.

US envoy Samantha Power said after the vote: "We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because... peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table."

Jordan's UN ambassador, Dina Kawar, said the vote should not stop efforts to resolve the conflict.

Of the 15 members of the Security Council Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg voted in favour. The US and Australia voted against. The UK, Lithuania, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda abstained.

The document called for Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and for a comprehensive peace deal to be reached within a year. It also called for new negotiations to take place based on territorial lines that existed before Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.

Australia’s relationship with Palestinians and the Arab world will be damaged by its decision to vote against a United Nations resolution that demanded the end of Israeli occupation within three years, the chief Palestinian representative in Canberra has warned. The Guardian reports:

Australia was one of only two nations, along with the United States, Israel’s closest ally, to vote against the resolution.

Five other nations, including Britain, abstained from the vote, meaning that just eight of the 15 UN security council nations voted in favour of the resolution – one vote short of nine necessary for passage.

Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the general delegation of Palestine to Australia and New Zealand, said he was surprised at Australia’s vote as he expected it would “at least” abstain. “It was very disappointing and regrettable ... and will unfortunately affect relations with Palestine and the Arab world,” Abdulhadi told Guardian Australia. “It’s really very disappointing and I can’t understand why the decision was taken. We don’t know what the reasons are for this.”

Abdulhadi claimed there had been a shift in Australia’s position on the long-running conflict, citing what he viewed as a new Australian stance on East Jerusalem. In June George Brandis, Australia’s attorney general, said it wasn’t appropriate to refer to East Jerusalem as occupied as it was a pejorative term.

“There is a policy shift in Australia’s voting position, as represented with the East Jerusalem issue,” Abdulhadi said.

“I hope there will be a discussion with Australia on the issue and an opportunity for engagement with the foreign minister.” 

He added that Palestinians would continue the process of getting international support, despite the “bad advice from US and Australia to wait before continuing the process”.