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UN Security Council begins review of Palestinian bid for full UN membership

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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council said on Monday that it would decide this month on the Palestinians’ bid for full UN membership, with the longshot campaign unlikely to survive US opposition.

As the Gaza war rages on into its seventh month, the council’s move was described as “historic” by the Palestinians, but angrily denounced by Israel.

Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who holds the rotating presidency of the council, said that “the council has decided that this deliberation has to take place during the month of April.” Any request to become a UN member state must first pass a vote by the Security Council — where Israel’s ally the United States wields a veto — and then be endorsed by the General Assembly.

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.

“Today is a historic moment,” Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters on Monday as the Security Council started the review process after the Palestinians last week relaunched its formal 2011 bid.

“All we ask for is to take our rightful place among the community of nations, to be treated as equals, equals to other nations and states to live in freedom and dignity in peace and security in our ancestral land,” Mansour said in the General Assembly.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for decades resisted creation of a Palestinian state and leads a far-right government with members hostile to the Palestinian Authority, which holds limited autonomy in sections of the West Bank.

And under US legislation, the United States is required to cut off funding to UN agencies that give full membership to a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians’ campaign faces decisive US opposition in the UN Security Council. Washington previously opposed the effort when it was raised in 2011. “Our position hasn’t changed,” said Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2024

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