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Unilateral Palestinian Bid at Security Council Fails, No U.S. Veto Required

A Palestinian resolution calling to impose a peace settlement on Israel failed in a United Nations Security Council vote tonight, garnering only eight votes, one short of the number required to have forced a promised veto from the United States.

The New York Times reports:

The United States and Australia voted against the measure. France, China and Russia were among the eight countries that voted for it. Britain and four other nations abstained.

The draft resolution, which was introduced by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians, sets a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel, sets down targets for Palestinian sovereignty, including a capital in East Jerusalem, and “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017.

The defeat could potentially lead Palestinian officials to seek recognition in other ways — including by joining the International Criminal Court.

The Times of Israel adds:

According to Israeli media, the deciding votes were those of Nigeria and Rwanda, which had intended to give a ‘yes’ but decided to abstain at the last minute, leaving the Palestinian Authority one vote short of the required nine.

The other three abstentions were those of the UK, Lithuania and South Korea.

The Palestinian effort was blasted the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. The Associated Press (AP) reported:

“We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because … peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

She criticized the decision to bring the draft resolution to a vote as a “staged confrontation that will not bring the parties closer.” She added that the resolution was “deeply unbalanced” and didn’t take into account Israel’s security concerns.

According to AP, The Nigerian ambassador to the United Nations, U. Joy Ogwu, “echoed the U.S. position saying the ultimate path to peace lies ‘in a negotiated solution.'”

The American vote against the resolution follows a press briefing yesterday, where State Department Spokesman Jeff Rathke blasted the resolution saying, “We think it sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, and those are more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion. Further, we think that the resolution fails to account for Israel’s legitimate security needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course, is integral to a sustainable settlement.”

News reports mentioned that the Palestinian effort to push the unilateral statehood bid was the result of “frustration.” Last week, however, Israel’s former peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni recounted that it was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who scuttled the American-sponsored peace process earlier this year.

An editorial in The Washington Post today characterized the Palestinian effort as “insisting on failure,” and warned that eschewing negotiations and pursuing unilateral actions “wouldn’t bring Palestinians any closer to statehood.”

[Photo: WochitGeneralNews / YouTube ]