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News / Nation & World

The Security Council revives the Palestinian Authority’s UN hopes. The US says not yet

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press
Published: April 9, 2024, 8:53am

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Monday revived the Palestinian Authority’s hopes of joining the United Nations as a full member.

But the United States said relations between Israel and the Palestinians are far from ripe. That all but quashes the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. membership hopes for now.

The U.S. is one of five permanent members who can veto any council action. Members of its U.N. delegation reiterated Monday that the Palestinian Authority needs to exert control over all of the Palestinian territories and negotiate statehood with Israel before it wins statehood.

The Palestinian Authority administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Its forces were driven from Gaza when Hamas seized power in 2007, and it has no power there.

“The issue of full Palestinian membership is a decision that should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters Monday.

After years of failed on-and-off peace talks, the Palestinians have turned to the United Nations to fulfill their dream of an independent state. Israel says such steps are an attempt to sidestep the negotiating process. Israel’s current right-wing government is dominated by hard-liners who oppose Palestinian statehood.

Supporters of the Palestinians’ request for full membership in the United Nations asked the Security Council last week to revive the application for admission submitted in 2011. The Palestinians’ fresh bid for U.N. membership comes as the war between Israel and Hamas that began on Oct. 7 nears its sixth month and the unresolved decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains in the spotlight after years on the back burner.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador dismissed any possibility of Palestinian statehood, reducing the issue to a question of his country’s very ability to survive.

“From well before the establishment of the U.N., the Palestinians’ goal has be clear: the annihilation of the Jews,” Ambassador Gilad Erdan told reporters. The U.N. was founded in the wake of World War II and “the same genocidal ideology that this body was founded to combat is still prevalent among the Palestinians,” he said.

The Security Council decided to make a formal decision on Palestinian U.N. membership this month and a committee that weighs membership applications will meet again Thursday, said Malta’s U.N. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, the current Security Council president.

“This is a historic moment again,” said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application to become the 194th member of the United Nations to then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23, 2011, before addressing world leaders at the General Assembly.

“It was a historic moment then, and now that historic moment has been revived again,” Mansour told reporters.

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