Germany has said it will stand up for Israel’s interests and security if it wins a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The German foreign ministry said Saturday that Israel’s decision to withdraw its candidacy “is a further incentive for us to stand up for the interests and safety of our Israeli friends” if Germany wins a Security Council seat.
Friday’s withdrawal by Israel virtually guarantees Germany and Belgium victory in the June 8 election and seats on the council.
Israel was in a three-way contest with Germany and Belgium for two seats representing the Western-democratic group of nations on the UN’s most powerful body starting in January.
In all, five seats are up for grabs but three of those are reserved for Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific regions. The five new members will serve a two-year term starting in 2019.
The Security Council has five permanent members and 10 members elected by the 193-member General Assembly for two-year terms.
A statement from Israel’s mission at the UN said Friday, “After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the State of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council.
“It was decided that we will continue to act with our allies to allow for Israel to realize its right for full participation and inclusion in decision-making processes at the UN,” the statement said. “This includes the Security Council as well as an emphasis on areas related to development and innovation.”
The move was first reported by Reuters, which quoted a UN source saying that Israel had abandoned the bid due to the low chances of winning.
To win election to the council, candidate-countries must win a two-thirds majority. Earlier this month the Palestinian Authority said that a campaign by Arab states to block Israel’s bid had been gaining support.
A seat at the council would have been a significant diplomatic achievement for Israel. Since the UN voted Israel into existence in 1947, the Security Council has passed hundreds of resolutions concerning Israel, more than any other country.