US stops UN from recognizing Palestinian state through membership

US stops UN from recognizing Palestinian state through membership

UNITED NATIONS--The United States on Thursday effectively stopped the United Nations from recognizing a Palestinian state by casting a veto in the Security Council to deny Palestinians full membership of the world body.

It vetoed a draft resolution that recommended to the 193-member U.N. General Assembly that "the State of Palestine be admitted to membership" of the U.N. Britain and Switzerland abstained, while the remaining 12 council members voted yes. "The United States continues to strongly support a two-state solution. This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgment that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties," Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood told the council. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the U.S. veto as "unfair, unethical, and unjustified," saying in a statement that it challenged "the will of the international community, which strongly supports Palestine's full membership." The Palestinian push for full U.N. membership came six months into a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz commended the United States for casting a veto, adding: "The shameful proposal was rejected. Terrorism will not be rewarded." The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012. But an application to become a full U.N. member needs to be approved by the Security Council and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly. "We believe that such recognition of Palestinian statehood should not come at the start of a new process, but it doesn’t have to be at the very end of the process. We must start with fixing the immediate crisis in Gaza," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Barbard Woodward told the council. The U.N. Security Council has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967. Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama argued before the vote that admitting Palestinians to the United Nations would strengthen rather than undermine the two-state solution, adding: "Peace will come from Palestine's inclusion, not from its exclusion." The Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank. Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority from power in Gaza in 2007. Israel is retaliating against Hamas in Gaza over an Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel led by the militant group. Israel says about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 people were taken hostage in the assault, and Gaza health authorities say Israel has killed nearly 34,000 people in its offensive in Gaza since then. "Recent escalations make it even more important to support good-faith efforts to find lasting peace between Israel and a fully independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council earlier on Thursday. "Failure to make progress towards a two-State solution will only increase volatility and risk for hundreds of millions of people across the region, who will continue to live under the constant threat of violence," he said.

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