The United States vetoes the Palestinians' bid to become a full member state of the United Nations

The United States on Thursday blocked the U.N. Security Council from pursuing a Palestinian bid to be recognized as a full member state of the United Nations, quashing an attempt by Palestinian allies to persuade the world body to support the effort.

There were 12 votes in favor of the resolution, while the United States opposed it, with Great Britain and Switzerland abstaining.

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, had described the bid for full member status as an effort “to take our rightful place in the community of nations.”

After the vote, a visibly upset Mansour gave an impassioned speech affirming the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.

“Our right to self-determination is a natural right – a historical right – to live in our homeland Palestine as an independent, free and sovereign state,” he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said after the vote: “The shameful proposal has been rejected. Terrorism will not be rewarded.”

The Security Council has consistently called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an outcome that did not materialize during negotiations between the two sides. In Washington, a State Department spokesman, Vedant Patel, said the new resolution was dead on arrival.

“It remains the United States' view that the quickest path to statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the support of the United States and other partners,” Patel told reporters in a briefing press conference Thursday. .

The United States, along with the other four permanent members of the Council, can veto any action before them. On Thursday afternoon, during a high-profile Council meeting to address issues in the Middle East, including the Palestinian bid to become a full member of the United Nations, the United States, Israel's staunch ally, exercised that veto.

The resolution asked the 15 members of the Security Council to recommend to the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly that “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations,” diplomats said. To pass, the request had to be approved by the Security Council with at least nine votes in favor and without a veto from the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia or China. Then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly would have to approve it.

Full Palestinian membership in the United Nations would represent a major, if largely symbolic, victory for the Palestinian Authority, which has long sought a nation-state. If the Palestinian request were accepted, the new status would bring the privileges of United Nations membership, including the right to vote and a rotating seat on the Security Council.

Many of the most critical issues regarding the new status, however, would not be resolved, including physical borders and recognition by individual countries with which it would be necessary to establish diplomatic relations.

Israel was admitted as a full member of the United Nations in 1949. The Palestinian Authority has for decades sought a state composed of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip; those territories were all captured or annexed by Israel.

Little progress has been made toward achieving Palestinian statehood since Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, which established a peace process aimed at a two-state solution. In 2007, the militant group Hamas pushed the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, from power in the Gaza Strip.

Complicating the demand for Palestinian independence is the war that began when Hamas led terrorist attacks on Israel that killed about 1,200 people and prompted retaliatory attacks by Israel in Gaza, killing more than 33,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and displacing more than a million people. The conflict has spread to the occupied West Bank and neighboring countries such as Lebanon and has dragged Iran into the fray.

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