US blocks Palestinian UN membership bid

The United States on Thursday spoiled a long-shot Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership, vetoing a Security Council measure despite growing international distress over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The move by Israel’s key ally had been expected ahead of the vote, taking place more than six months into Israel’s military offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory, in retaliation for the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.

Twelve countries voted in favor of the draft resolution recommending full Palestinian membership. Britain and Switzerland abstained.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas’s office called the US veto “a blatant aggression” and “an encouragement to the pursuit of the genocidal war against our people… which pushes the region ever further to the edge of the abyss.”

The draft resolution called for recommending to the General Assembly “that the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations” in place of its current “non-member observer state” status, which it has held since 2012.

Ahead of the vote, special Palestinian Authority envoy Ziad Abu Amr told the Council that “granting Palestine full membership at the United Nations will lift some of the historic injustice that succeeding Palestinian generations have been subjected to.”

Ambassador Amar Bendjama from Algeria, which introduced the draft, said: “Failure to act is a serious unforgivable mistake. Failure to wake up today is a license for continuing injustice and impunity. 

“Failure to do so is everlasting shame,” he added.

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