UK Voices Opposition to Palestinian Statehood Resolution


Britain joins the US with concerns how the revised UN draft does not address Israel’s security needs.

By i24news


Britain joined the United States and Israel on Tuesday, lashing out against a toughly worded Palestinian statehood resolution submitted to the UN Security Council, Reuters reported.

“British ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Security council Mark Lyall Grant (L) addresses the press, flanked by US Ambassador to the UN Security Council Samantha Power, after a meeting with South Sudan’s president on August 12, 2014 in Juba” – Photo: Charles Lomodong (AFP)

When asked whether Britain would support the revised draft, British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the country would not.

“There’s some difficulties with the text, particularly language on time scales, new language on refugees,” Lyall Grant was quoted by Reuters as saying. “So I think we would have some difficulties.”

According to the report, the envoy did not specify whether Britain would use its veto power to block the Palestinian bid.

The US on Monday warned that the resolution would only hinder prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“We think [this resolution] sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, and those are more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said.

“Further, we think that the resolution fails to account for Israel’s legitimate security needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course, integral to a sustainable settlement,” he added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday about the latest Palestinian push at the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier in the day that Israel expects “the entire international community – at least the responsible members of that community – to vigorously oppose this UN diktat, this UN Security Council resolution. Because what we need are direct negotiations and not imposed conditions.”

Speaking at a meeting with Indiana Governor Mike Pence in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that “Israel will oppose conditions that endanger our future.”

Netanyahu said that Israel and western civilization were under attack from Iran and Islamic radicals, and that this attack also included Palestinian efforts to impose a solution that would endanger Israel’s security and place its future in danger.

Pence is the latest possible 2016 US presidential contender to visit Israel, following South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was in Israel over the weekend. Like Graham, Pence promised US support against the Palestinian move.

Vote date not set but could be on Tuesday

Arab ambassadors endorsed the text, which contains new provisions on declaring East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state, settling the issue of Palestinian prisoner releases and halting Jewish settlements.

Don Emmert (AFP)

Delegates gather during a Security Council meeting regarding human rights violations in North Korea on December 22, 2014 at the United Nations in New York – Photo: Don Emmert (AFP)

Security Council member Jordan submitted the text to the other council members, but no decision on the timing for a vote was taken.

“Both our leaderships will be discussing, to find the best way and the best timing to vote on the Security Council resolution,” Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar told reporters.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said the vote could “realistically” take place Tuesday.

The new resolution seen by AFP contains eight amendments, including a new provision recalling that Israel’s West Bank barrier was declared illegal and demanding an end to Israeli settlement construction in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.

It remained unclear if the Palestinians would seek a quick vote or hold off until January 1, when five new members with a pro-Palestinian stance join the Security Council.

Diplomats said it was unlikely that the resolution would garner nine votes under the current makeup of the council — a scenario that would allow the United States to avoid resorting to its veto power.

A US veto risks angering key Arab allies, including partners in the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela begin their two-year stint at the council on January 1, replacing Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Rwanda and South Korea.

The Palestinians have warned that if the bid to win support for a UN resolution fails, they are prepared to join the International Criminal Court to file suits against Israel.


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