UN rejects Palestinian state over push for 1967 borders, Jerusalem

by Joni B. Hannigan |

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations opposed a resolution the 15-member United Nations Security Council ultimately rejected Tuesday—a plan that would have called for Israelis and Palestinians to strike a peace deal within a year.

The failed resolution also would have moved Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders within three years—those that existed before the 1967 war that won Israel control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Additonally, the measure declared East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state, rather than continuing the status quo of Jerusalem serving as a shared capital, according to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"We voted against this resolution not because we are indifferent to the daily hardships or the security threats endured by Palestinians and Israelis, but because we know that those hardships will not cease and those threats will not subside until the parties reach a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations."
-- U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers

The resolution received eight supporting votes, two against, and five abstentions. Australia joined the United States in voting against the measure, according to Voice of America News. The U.S. vote would have, in effect, vetoed the measure, if it had received nine votes of support. It did not, however, and so the veto power, which also is extended to Russia, China, Britain and France, was not needed.

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Powers told the council the Obama administration supports negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, not a "staged confrontation."

"We voted against this resolution not because we are indifferent to the daily hardships or the security threats endured by Palestinians and Israelis, but because we know that those hardships will not cease and those threats will not subside until the parties reach a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations," Power said, according to VOA.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the U.N., said officials will meet today to discuss membership in the newly approved Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)—with the intent to charge Israel with possible war crimes.

"The Security Council has once again failed to uphold its charter duties to address these crises and to meaningfully contribute to a peaceful and lasting solution in accordance with its own resolutions," he said.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday praised the vote and thanked the United States, Australia, Rwanda and Nigeria. Rwand and Nigeria were two of the five countries that abstained, joined by Britain, Lithuania and South Korea. Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg voted in favor of the resolution.

"I would like to voice appreciation and thanks to the United States and Australia, and also special appreciation for the president of Rwanda, my friend Paul Kagame, and the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. I spoke with both of them. They told me and promised me, personally, that they would not support this resolution. They kept their word, and that's what clinched this matter. I think this is very important for the state of Israel," Netanyahu said in Jerusalem, according to the Jerusalem Post.