Security Council to vote on Palestinian UN membership

AFP [file picture]

The UN Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on a Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

The 15-member council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution that recommends to the 193-member UN General Assembly that "the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations," diplomats said.

Israel's ally the United States is expected to block the move because it would effectively recognise a Palestinian state.

A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. Diplomats say the measure could have the support of up to 13 council members, which would force the US to use its veto.

The United States has said that establishing an independent Palestinian state should happen through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and not at the UN.

Palestine is currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the UN General Assembly in 2012.

But an application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the Security Council and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes six months into a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"Recent escalations make it even more important to support good-faith efforts to find lasting peace between Israel and a fully independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council.

"Failure to make progress towards a two-State solution will only increase volatility and risk for hundreds of millions of people across the region, who will continue to live under the constant threat of violence," he said.

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