Palestinian envoy pleads with Security Council to grant UN membership

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Full UN membership for the Palestinians would help alleviate the "historic injustice" suffered by generations, a senior Palestinian Authority official said Thursday ahead of a Security Council vote on the membership bid.

That vote is expected to take place at 5:00 pm (2100 GMT) according to Malta, which holds the council's rotating presidency.

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

"It will open wide prospects before a true peace based on justice."

Any request to become a UN member state must first earn a recommendation from the Security Council – meaning at least nine positive votes out of 15, and no vetoes – and then be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.

But the United States, Israel's main ally, has not hesitated in the past to use its veto to protect Israel, and has not hidden its lack of enthusiasm for Palestinian UN membership – meaning the initiative appears doomed.

Washington believes the United Nations is not the venue for recognition of a Palestinian state, which must be the result of a peace deal with Israel.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas launched a membership application in 2011 but it never came before the Security Council for a vote. The General Assembly then voted to grant the Palestinians observer status in November 2012.

The Palestinian envoy asked how membership could "damage the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis," calling out the United States and others who oppose membership to respond.

Abu Amr insisted UN membership for Palestinians would not replace "serious political negotiations" with Israel but instead "grant hope to the Palestinian people hope for a decent life within an independent state."

Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan slammed the fact that the Council was even reviewing the matter as "immoral."

"Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving states. Peace-loving – what a joke," Erdan said.

Israel's government opposes a two-state solution, defended by most of the international community including the United States.--AFP

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