‘No consensus’ in Security Council on full UN membership for Palestinians, says chair

Matter now set for vote next week by all council members, two-thirds of whom are said to back recognizing Palestinian state, though US would likely use veto

A general view shows a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, March. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
A general view shows a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, March. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

UNITED NATIONS — Members of the UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus Thursday on a bid by Palestinians for full UN membership, meaning the longshot effort is now likely headed for a more formal council vote.

The Palestinians, who have had observer status at the world body since 2012, have lobbied for years to gain full membership, which would amount to recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Any request to become a UN member state must first pass through the Security Council where Israel’s ally, the United States, wields a veto, and must then be endorsed by the General Assembly.

In light of Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza, launched in response to the terror group’s October 7 onslaught, the Palestinians revived a 2011 UN membership application last week, prompting the Security Council to launch a formal review process. This included the ad hoc committee that failed to reach consensus Thursday and was composed of the council’s member states.

During its closed-door meeting “there was no consensus,” said Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who holds the council’s rotating presidency for April.

However, two-thirds of the members were in favor of full membership, she said, without specifying which countries.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, and China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, center left, speak with ambassadors of Arab countries before a Security Council meeting and vote on a resolution on Israel and Gaza conflict at UN Headquarters, March 25, 2024. Malta’s UN Ambassador Vanessa Frazier (center) and Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador is center right. (AP/Craig Ruttle)

While the ad hoc committee can only move forward by consensus — loosely speaking, when everyone is in agreement — any Security Council member may now put forth a resolution for a vote on the matter.

According to diplomatic sources, a vote could be held on April 18, brought forth by Algeria which represents Arab nations on the Council.

Even if the matter were to receive the necessary nine of 15 votes, observers predict a veto from the United States.

Washington maintains the United Nations is not the place for hashing out Palestinian statehood, which it stresses should be the result of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“All we ask for is to take our rightful place among the community of nations,” Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters earlier this week.

The Gaza war began after Hamas’s devastating October 7 attack against Israel in which Palestinian terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 253 hostages in the deadly atrocities against Jews since the Holocaust.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 33,500 people in the Strip have been killed in the fighting so far, a figure that cannot be independently verified and includes some 13,000 Hamas gunmen Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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