UNGA asks Sec Council to reconsider Palestine membership

The UN General Assembly was expected to vote on Friday to grant Palestine rights and reviving its UN membership bid [UN]

The UN General Assembly voted by a wide margin on Friday to grant Palestine new “rights and privileges” and called on the Security Council to favourably reconsider its request to become the 194th member of the United Nations.

The 193-member world body approved the Arab and Palestinian-sponsored resolution by a vote of 143-9, with 25 abstentions.

The United States vetoed a widely backed council resolution on 18 April that would have paved the way for full United Nations membership for Palestine, a goal the Palestinians have long sought and Israel has worked to prevent.

On Thursday, US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood stated that the Biden administration opposed the assembly resolution. The United States and Israel were among the nine countries voting against it.

The UN General Assembly was expected to vote on Friday. Under the UN Charter, prospective United Nations members must be “peace-loving,” and the Security Council must recommend their admission to the General Assembly for final approval. Palestine became a UN non-member observer state in 2012.

“We’ve been very clear from the beginning that there is a process for obtaining full membership in the United Nations, and this effort by some of the Arab countries and the Palestinians is to try to circumvent that,” Wood said Thursday. We have said from the beginning that the best way to ensure Palestinian full membership in the UN is to do that through negotiations with Israel. That remains our position.”

However, unlike the Security Council, the 193-member General Assembly does not have vetoes, and the resolution was expected to be approved by a large majority, according to three Western diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were private.

The draft resolution “determines” that the state of Palestine is qualified for membership – dropping the original language that, in the General Assembly’s judgment, it is “a peace-loving state.” It therefore recommends that the Security Council reconsider its request “favourably.”

The renewed push for full Palestinian membership in the UN comes as the war on Gaza has put the more than 75-year-old genocide at centre stage. At numerous council and assembly meetings, the humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinians in Gaza and the killing of more than 34,000 people in the territory, according to Gaza health officials, have generated outrage from many countries.

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