Thu 18 Apr 2024 9:34 am - Jerusalem Time

Abbas rejects an American request to postpone the vote on Palestine’s membership in the United Nations

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected requests from the Joe Biden administration not to proceed with a vote in the United Nations Security Council on accepting Palestine as a full member of the United Nations, four Palestinian, American and Israeli officials told the American website Axios.

According to the site, tension, frustration, and lack of trust have increased between Abbas's government and the administration of US President Joe Biden over the past three years. The Palestinian President believes that the American administration is not working to advance a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on Thursday on a draft resolution granting Palestine full membership status in the United Nations instead of its current observer status.

Achieving full membership status - the equivalent of UN recognition of Palestinian statehood - first requires nine votes to submit a resolution to the 15-member UN Security Council.

The Council, which includes the United States, would need to approve the request, and would then have to obtain at least two-thirds of the votes of the General Assembly.

According to Axios, “American and Israeli officials said that the Biden administration is trying to prevent the Palestinians from obtaining the nine votes so that the United States is not forced to use its veto power over the resolution.”

It is noteworthy that the United States' use of its veto power against such a decision, especially amid the war in Gaza, would bring sharp criticism to Biden at the international level and within his party, including some of his supporters.

The site says that a US official told Axios that the Biden administration has been exploring options in recent months for possible recognition of Palestine, but not as a unilateral endeavor at the United Nations.

The official said that the US administration considered recognition scenarios as part of a broader regional agreement that includes the post-war plan and normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

It is noteworthy that the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations sent a letter two weeks ago to the Secretary-General of the United Nations requesting the renewal of the application for full membership in the United Nations for Palestine.

After the Palestinian request, the UN Security Council formed a committee to discuss it and issue an opinion.

The committee submitted its report on Tuesday and said the 15 council members were divided on the issue of whether they should recommend Palestine's admission as a full member of the organization, according to a copy of the report.

According to the site: “American, Israeli and Palestinian officials say that the Biden administration has exerted pressure over the past two weeks on Abbas and his advisors to retract their request, and that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken raised this issue directly in a phone call with Abbas, as other American officials raised it with their Palestinian counterparts every year.” About a day over the past two weeks.

A US official said that the Biden administration made clear to the Palestinians that current US law forces the administration to veto such a decision or stop funding the United Nations. According to officials, Abbas rejected US pressure and his aides informed the Biden administration that they would go ahead with the vote.

A senior Palestinian official told the site that the Biden administration asked whether Abbas would suspend the offer if he was invited to meet Biden at the White House.

The Palestinian official said that Abbas rejected this trade-off and said that he agreed to such an American proposal a year ago but never received an invitation.

American officials admitted that they had failed to persuade the Palestinians to suspend their bid to the United Nations.

The website quotes a Palestinian official as saying, “We wanted the United States to offer a substantive alternative to recognition of the United Nations. But they did not do so. We believe that full membership of Palestine in the United Nations is long overdue. We have waited more than 12 years since our first request.”

Evidence indicates that the Palestinians currently have eight Security Council members who will support them, namely Russia, China, Algeria, Malta, Slovenia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Guyana, an Israeli official told the site.

The United Kingdom is expected to abstain from voting. The official said that the United States and Israel are pressuring France, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and Ecuador to vote against or abstain from voting so that the Palestinians do not receive nine votes.

If these efforts fail, it is expected that the Biden administration will veto the decision.


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Abbas rejects an American request to postpone the vote on Palestine’s membership in the United Nations