UN Door Shut in Palestine's Face: Council Members Refuse to Vote

While Palestine celebrates its inclusion into UNESCO, other countries have joined to abstain from voting on its proposed United Nations membership as a probable decisive blow to its campaign.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council, which is composed of five permanent members – the United States, France, China, United Kingdom, Russia, and 10 other countries elected every two years in a non-permanent capacity, would have to vote at least 9-to-6 in favor of allowing Palestine into the General Assembly.

Although an overwhelming majority voted for Palestine to be accepted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organization program, the Middle Eastern state is already facing an uphill task to get the U.N. membership. France, Colombia and the U.K. have said they would abstain from voting, and the U.S. has promised it will veto the measure should it happen.

The membership committee met behind closed doors on Thursday, where the Palestinian request was discussed in depth and each state shared their position on the petition. It is unlikely that a consensus will be reached, as the issue has raised divided opinions.

The vote, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 11, may not even occur if none of the Security Council members proposes to put it up.

Should Palestine get the nine votes it needs to pass the measure, and if the United States decides not to veto the measure, they would still need to win two-thirds majority approval from the 193 members of the General Assembly. All of this makes its U.N. bid highly unlikely to succeed at this point.

The Palestinian application was submitted in September, but the U.S. is saying the state should not be allowed to join the assembly until it resolves its conflict with Israel and reache a peace agreement.

The U.S. and Israel have long stood in opposition to Palestine’s efforts to be recognized by the U.N., and have announced they will stop their funding of UNESCO’s program, which will lose 2 million annually from Israel, and almost 80 million from the U.S.

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