Palestinians lead Arab effort to deny Israel UN Security Council seat

Arab nations act early to block Israel’s selection to UN Security Council

By World Israel News Staff

On June 8, the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly will select two nations to fill the non-permanent seats on the Security Council that are not reserved for Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Israel is campaigning for a seat but faces fierce opposition from the UN’s Arab members, led by the Palestinians.

“We are doing everything possible to convince as many countries as possible to block the vote on Israel’s bid for a seat at the Security Council,” Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh ahead of the Arab Summit this weekend.

UN regulations mandate that a nation receive two-thirds of the vote to win a seat on the Council.  Voting as a bloc, the Arab nations represent 56 votes, less than the required one-third to derail Israel’s candidacy but a significant base on which to build the necessary opposition.

Maliki stated that the campaign against Israel’s ascension has European support but no specific countries were mentioned.

Germany and Belgium are also competing for the seats. Germany announced its intention late in the process, sparking a brief diplomatic row with Israel. According to pro-Israel activists in the US, the German bid violates a decades-old agreement to support an uncontested Israel selection to the UN’s highest body. German officials deny that such an agreement was ever in place.

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Likely to further complicate Israel’s chances of being elected is the Hamas-engineered tensions along the Israel-Gaza border, which is being portrayed in Europe as Israeli militarism, the recent attack on a Syrian airbase allegedly conducted by Israel and the Palestinian contention that the US, specifically President Trump, is overtly pro-Israel.

For its part, Israel sees a seat on the Council as an opportunity to combat the ‘boycott, divestment, sanctions’ (BDS) movement, as well as have greater leverage to confront the persistent use of the UN apparatus to criticize and condemn the State of Israel.