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US criticized over vetoing Palestine UN membership

By ZHOU JIN in Beijing and MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-20 07:43

Members of the United Nations Security Council vote on a draft resolution recommending the granting of full UN membership to the State of Palestine, during a meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. YUKI IWAMURA/AP

History and people around the world will remember a backsliding act taken by the United States to veto Palestine's request for full membership at the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Lin Jian, the ministry's spokesman, made the remarks after the UN Security Council on Thursday failed to adopt a draft resolution that recommended to the 193-member UN General Assembly that "the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations".

The resolution received 12 votes in favor, two abstentions from the United Kingdom and Switzerland, and one vote against from the US.

The Palestinian mission first applied for full UN membership in 2011 but fell short of the required support, failing to secure the necessary nine out of 15 votes in the Security Council.

The Palestinians approached the UN General Assembly in November 2012 and successfully achieved an upgrade of their status from "UN observer" to "non-member observer state" by securing more than a two-thirds majority vote.

Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to the UN, said on Thursday the establishment of an independent state has been the long-cherished wish of the Palestinian people for generations, and formally joining the UN is a key step in this historical process.

"Thirteen years is long enough, but relevant countries are still complaining that there is not enough time and they should not act in a hurry. Such a statement is disingenuous. Now more than ever, it is more urgent than ever to admit Palestine into full membership of the UN," said Fu.

The vote on the resolution came as the latest round of the Palestine-Israel conflict heads into its seventh month, which has caused a severe humanitarian disaster.

Although the US vetoed Palestine's full UN membership, the urgent need of people in the region for an immediate cease-fire, the basic need of people in Gaza for humanitarian assistance, and the shared expectation of the international community for a just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue must not be denied, Lin, the spokesman, told a daily news conference.

He called for the international community to respect the aspirations of the Palestinian people, return to the right track of the two-state solution, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine at an early date.

Only by doing so can peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel, harmony between the Arab and Jewish peoples and lasting peace in the Middle East be achieved, he said.

Yu Guoqing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of West-Asian and African Studies, said that once Palestine becomes a formal member state, it can at any time request the UN and the Security Council to convene a conference to discuss when its rights are violated.

Clearly, this would exert greater pressure on Israel's long-standing occupation and encroachment upon Palestinian territories, Yu said.

However, Yu said that the special strategic alliance between the US and Israel determines that Washington will not easily change its stance of not recognizing Palestinian independence and statehood or its willingness to exercise its veto power.

The US veto has disappointed the Palestinians as well as the international community, he said, adding that it also reflected the difficulties Palestinians are facing in pursuing statehood.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, said that the US move once again exposed the extreme selfishness of its diplomacy.

Washington lacks the sense of responsibility and the willingness as a major power to contribute to international peace and stability, Li said.

Such a practice will lead to the continued deterioration and spillover of the current situation in Gaza, which will further escalate tensions in the Middle East, he added.

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