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UN: No consensus on full membership for Palestine

April 12, 2024

Members of the United Nations Security Council failed to reach a consensus on a Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

A chair meant to represent a proposed United Nations seat for Palestine is seen after a press conference at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA on 15 September 2011
In 2011, the Palestinians already tried to gain full UN membership. They even presented a chair for a proposed United Nations seat for PalestineImage: Justin Lane/epa/dpa/picture alliance

A UN Security Council committee has failed to agree on a common response to a renewed bid by the State of Palestine for full United Nations membership.

Malta's ambassador to the UN, Vanessa Frazier, who currently chairs the committee, said after a meeting in New York on Thursday that two-thirds of the members were in favor of the application while five were opposed.

It is considered unlikely that the committee will then recommend that the Security Council vote on the application. However, a resolution to that effect could be introduced at any time by any member state of the Security Council.

How can Palestine become a full member of the UN?

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.

Algeria, which represents Arab nations on the Council, plans to introduce a resolution next week, according to diplomatic sources. However, such a resolution would most likely fail as the United States, Israel's closest ally in the Security Council, would likely veto it.

To succeed, at least nine of the 15 members of the Security Council would have to vote in favor of the resolution, with none of the five permanent Council members, China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, voting against.

If successful, the resolution would then go to the UN General Assembly for a vote. A two-thirds majority would be required for passage.

Netanyahu rejects US calls for two-state solution

Who opposes full Palestinian membership?

Israel has been a consistent and vehement opponent of Palestine's admission. In addition, the United States and others have previously demanded that Palestinians make peace with Israel before being granted UN membership.

In November 2011, the application for full UN membership failed in the Security Council. A year later, the General Assembly, where no country has veto power, granted the Palestinians observer status despite Washington's opposition.

Last week, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour wrote to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with a request that the 2011 application be resubmitted to the UN Security Council in April.

Earlier this week, the Security Council referred the application to a consideration committee. The formal step of reconsidering the 2011 application was seen as a small victory for the Palestinians.

Palestine has been recognized as an independent state by 139 of the UN's 193 member states.

dh/sms (dpa, AFP)