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‘Blatant aggression’: Reactions to US veto of Palestine’s UN membership bid

In News, World
April 19, 2024

The United States vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council (UNSC) which recommended granting the State of Palestine full membership in the United Nations.

The veto on Thursday by Israel’s main political and military backer had been expected ahead of the vote. Twelve countries voted in favour of the resolution, which was introduced by Algeria, while the United Kingdom and Switzerland abstained.

Here are some international reactions:

Palestinian Authority

The office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the US veto was “blatant aggression … which pushes the region ever further to the edge of the abyss”.

In a statement, the presidency called the US veto “unfair, unethical and unjustified”.

“The fact that this resolution did not pass will not break our will, and it will not defeat our determination,” Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said after the vote.

“We will not stop in our effort. The state of Palestine is inevitable. It is real,” he said.

“Please remember that once this session adjourns, in Palestine, there are innocents paying the price with their lives … for the delay in justice, freedom and peace,” he added.

Hamas

The Palestinian armed group accused the US of standing “in the face of international will” by exercising its veto power and denying Palestinians full membership in the world body.

The group said in a statement that it condemned “in the strongest terms the American position biased towards the occupation”, as it called on the international community “to exert pressure to go beyond the American will and support the struggle of our Palestinian people and their legitimate right to self-determination”.

“We assure the world that our Palestinian people will continue their struggle and resistance until they defeat the occupation, take away their rights, and establish their independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” it added.

Egypt

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep regret” over the inability of the UNSC to pass the resolution and said approving Palestine’s bid to become a full UN member was a vital step and “an inherent right of the Palestinian people”.

It said preventing Palestine from gaining full UN membership is a move that is “not consistent with the legal and historical responsibility” of the international community, which needs to aid all parties in reaching a “final and just solution to the Palestinian issue”.

Israel

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz commended the US for vetoing the resolution, which he labelled a “shameful proposal”, in a post on X.

“It is outrageous that even half a year after the October 7 massacre, the UN Security Council failed to condemn Hamas[‘s] horrific crimes,” he wrote, referring to the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that triggered the current conflict. At least 33,970 people have been killed and 76,770 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

United States

US deputy ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, said his country “has worked vigorously and with determination to support Palestinian statehood in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement that would permanently resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

“Since the attacks of October 7, President Biden has been clear that sustainable peace in the region can only be achieved through a two-state solution with Israel’s security guarantee,” he said after he raised his hand to vote against and veto the resolution.

“There is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and future as a democratic Jewish state,” Wood continued.

He said that “there are unresolved questions as to whether the applicant meets the criteria to be considered a state”.

“We have long called on the Palestinian Authority to undertake necessary reforms to help establish the attributes of readiness for statehood and note that Hamas, a terrorist organisation, is currently exerting power and influence in Gaza, an integral part of the state envisioned in this resolution,” he said.

Russia

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said that by exercising its veto, the US has demonstrated “what they really think of the Palestinians”.

Washington thinks “they do not deserve to have their own state”, and it only realises “the interest of Israel”, he added.

Nebenzia said the US is turning a blind eye to the “crimes of Israel” against civilians in Gaza, as well as the continuation of the illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

“The aim is to break the Palestinians’s will, to force them once and for all to submit to the occupying power, to turn them into servants and second-class persons, and perhaps, to once and for all force them out of their native territory,” he said.

However, he said, “that policy is only having an opposite impact”.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia expressed regret over the failure of the UNSC to adopt the resolution, it said in a statement.

Norway

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide expressed his country’s “regret” that the UNSC “did not agree on admitting Palestine as a full member of the UN”.

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