Palestinian Resolution at the United Nations Security Council

Palestinian Resolution at the United Nations Security Council

On December 30th, 2014, Al Jazeera reported that the Palestinian Resolution (a reported text of the draft resolution can be found here) at the United Nations Security Council–which, among other things, called for a stated time by which Israel must end its occupation of the Palestinian territories, did not pass. 

The vote in the UNSC was eight in favor of the resolution, five abstentions, and two “no” votes. One of these “no” votes was the United States, whose vote also carries veto power, meaning that the resolution would automatically fail (as all five veto members (US, UK, China, France, and Russia) must approve of an action in order for the action to possibly go through). 

This vote, and in particular–the U.S. vote–does not come as a surprise. The United States government has continued to support Israeli actions through aid, the selling of weapons, and the use of the veto power in the United Nations. And as Al Jazeera (2014) explains, “The United States, Israel’s closest ally, had reiterated its opposition to the draft resolution earlier on Tuesday, with Washington’s U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power calling the vote a “staged confrontation” and insisting that negotiations should continue without the U.N. imposing a timetable or parameters. The Obama administration failed in its most recent effort last Spring to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of which Abbas is also the chairman. “

What is unfortunate about this approach however is that Israel continues to negotiate from a position of the occupier, all the while continuing to build settlements on Palestinian land. So, it seems quite misplaced to suggest that negotiations can occur when settlements–something the Obama administration have criticized–be allowed to continue.

But despite the failure to receive the necessary support the UNSC, there have been other states who are individually looking to make statements on the issue of the decades-long Israeli occupation. For example, “Several European parliaments have signaled their own impatience with Israel’s continued occupation by adopting non-binding resolutions recognizing Palestinian statehood.”

What the United States must realize is that the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories is so detrimental to the peace process that they must find a way to halt settlements. In addition, the United States was far from clearly direct in their criticism of Israeli actions over the summer in which over 2000 Palestinians were killed, many of them children and non-combatants. 

These sorts of actions seem to make peace highly unlikely, and yet, Israel continues its actions in the form of settlements. The Palestinian resolution merely focused on that point. Without the end of the settlements, peace is nearly impossible. 

Unfortunately, the United States’ position is highly problematic with regards to reach a proper peace. And it is difficult to see them as an unbiased broker in this issue, particularly given the history of support to Israel on the issue of the settlements and other rights violations in Palestine.

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