Middle East

UN votes down resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal


The UN Security Council has rejected a draft resolution calling for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017. 

(Transcript from World News Radio)

Australia has joined the United States to vote against a draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.

Jordan submitted the motion after 22 Arab states and the Palestinian Authority agreed on its wording.

To pass, the resolution needed the support of at least nine members and no vetoes from the permanent members - but it failed to gain that support.

Greg Dyett reports.

Just eight of the the 15 members of the UN Security Council voted in favour: Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Luxembourg and Jordan.

Permanent member the United States vetoed, and Australia joined it in voting against the draft resolution.

Britain, Lithuania, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda chose to abstain.

The resolution called for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and for a peace deal to be reached within 12 months.

Jordan's ambassador to the UN, Dina Kawar, says all elements in the draft resolution were acceptable not only to members of the Security Council, but to the international community as a whole.

"These elements include the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to achieving a peaceful solution that ends the occupation of Palestinian territory, realises the vision of the two states, resolves the question of Palestinian refugees and other issues justly, and leads to establishing East Jerusalem as a capital of the Palestinian state. The fact that this draft resolution was not adopted will not at all prevent us from proceeding to push the international communities, specifically the United Nations towards an effective involvement in achieving a resolution for this conflict. We will continue assiduous work to resume the peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israelis."

As one of eight countries in favour, China's ambassador Liu Jieyi, says his country wants to see a resumption of negotiations between the two sides.

"We call upon the international community to redouble effort to help Palestine and Israel to end the cycle of violence and return to the correct track of peace talks. We call upon the Security Council to effectively assume responsibility for the Palestinian-Israeli question and to play its role. China is waiting to join the relevant sides in the international community in the coming effort and will continue to play a constructive role in promoting an enduring and just resolution of the question of Palestine."

Even had the resolution attracted the nine votes it needed, Israel's closest ally, the United States, would have used its veto power to stop the resolution being adopted.

US ambassador Samantha Power told the Council the draft is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that aren't conducive to negotiations, including what she called unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel's legitimate security concerns.

"Today's staged confrontation in the UN Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two state solution. We vote against this resolution not because we are indifferent to the daily hardships or the security threats endured by Palestinians and Israelis but because we know that those hardships will not cease and those threats will not subside until the parties reach a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations. This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise. It could well serve to provoke the very confrontation it purports to address."

In also opposing the resolution, Australia's UN representative Gary Quinlan echoed the US concerns.

"It lacks balance and seeks to impose a solution put forward by one party alone. Final status issues can only be resolved between the two sides, a process agreed by both sides as the only way forward to reach an enduring agreement. The violence experienced in recent months in the Palestinian territories and Israel underlines the terrible human cost of the failure of final status negotiations and how fragile the situation is in the absence of genuine progress towards establishing a Palestinian state, an objective in which Australia believes, and to which we are committed."



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