Why did Biden block UNSC resolution for Palestine statehood? US stand Explained - Hindustan Times
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Why did Biden block UNSC resolution for Palestine statehood? US stand Explained

Apr 19, 2024 10:17 AM IST

Why did United States block Palestine statehood bid at UNSC? Here's all you need to know

On Thursday, the United States stood alone in opposing a United Nations Security Council resolution to grant the Palestinian territories full UN membership and statehood. The U.S. vetoed the proposal put forward by Algeria on behalf of Arab nations, resulting in the resolution's failure. While twelve of the 15 council members voted in favour, Britain and Switzerland abstained.

The UN Security Council votes on a resolution allowing Palestinian UN membership at United Nations headquarters in New York, on April 18, 2024, during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. (AFP)
The UN Security Council votes on a resolution allowing Palestinian UN membership at United Nations headquarters in New York, on April 18, 2024, during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. (AFP)

Had the resolution passed, it would have moved to the U.N. General Assembly, where a two-thirds majority among the 193 member countries would be required for approval. Currently, around 140 U.N. members recognize the Palestinian territories as a state.

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Why did US oppose Palestine statehood at UNSC?

U.S. officials have argued that endorsing statehood at this time could jeopardize the chances of achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It insists a mutually agreed-upon solution is essential.

President Biden has consistently emphasized that a lasting peace in the region hinges on a two-state solution reached through mutual agreement,” U.S. representative Robert Wood told the council. “This is the only path that ensures Israel’s security and its future as a democratic Jewish state, while also guaranteeing Palestinians can live in peace and dignity in their own state.”

“We also have long been clear that a premature action here in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people,” Wood said. The United States “fully shared responsibility with its Israeli allies for the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians.”

Even before the vote it was widely anticipated that Biden would veto the resolution. The resolution needed nine out of 15 votes for passage and no veto from any permanent member, including the U.S. The administration had actively encouraged members to either vote against or abstain from the resolution to prevent a veto.

Council Members opposed US views on rejecting bid

Despite this stance, the majority of the council disagreed. Many argued that the U.S., due to its unwavering support for Israel, shares responsibility for the ongoing challenges faced by the Palestinian people. Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya criticized the U.S. veto as an attempt to resist the inevitable course of history.

Despite the U.S.'s strong stance, even its closest allies on the council did not support the veto. Britain, for instance, explained its abstention by saying that while they support Palestinian statehood, such recognition should be part of a broader process.

Algeria, the resolution's sponsor, remained resolute, declaring their commitment to the cause until it's achieved.

How Palestine called out US bluff at UNSC

Ziad Abu Amr, representing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, pointed out that the same 1947 UN resolution that established Israel also called for a Palestinian state. He questioned how granting Palestinian statehood could hinder peace efforts.

“How could granting the state of Palestine full membership of the United Nations ... damage the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis” or international peace? Abu Amr asked. “To those who say that recognizing a Palestinian state must happen through negotiations and not through a U.N. resolution, we wonder again, how was the state of Israel established.”

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan vehemently opposed the resolution, dismissing the idea of a Palestinian state meeting membership criteria.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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