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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Resolution for Palestinian State Fails in Security Council

Three Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian child

A United Nations Security Council draft resolution that set a deadline to establish a sovereign Palestinian state was defeated Tuesday night after it failed to receive the nine votes that are needed for adoption in the 15-member body.

The United States and Australia voted against the measure. France, China and Russia were among the eight countries that voted for it. Britain and four other nations abstained.

The draft resolution, which was introduced by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians, sets a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel, sets down targets for Palestinian sovereignty, including a capital in East Jerusalem, and “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017.

The defeat could potentially lead Palestinian officials to seek recognition in other ways — including by joining the International Criminal Court.

Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, said that the resolution was “deeply imbalanced” and set deadlines that did not adequately take account of Israel’s security needs.

“Today’s staged confrontation in the Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two-state solution,” she said.

Secretary of State John Kerry had sought to defer a vote on the resolution, which America and some of its European allies feared would inflame tensions before the Israeli elections that are scheduled for March and strengthen the position of Israeli hard-liners.

Jeff Rathke, a State Department spokesman, said that Mr. Kerry had called 13 ranking diplomats over the past two days to express his concerns about the measure.

While Mr. Kerry failed to get the vote deferred, he managed to line up enough abstentions so that the United States did not need to wield a veto to block the measure.

Jordan, which represents Arab countries on the Council, had earlier pushed for compromise language that would win the full support of the Council, but Arab diplomats ultimately backed the Palestinian bid to put it for a vote by the end of the year.

The Palestinian push reflects their mounting frustration with the American-brokered peace process and widening support from European lawmakers, who have voted in recent months to recognize a Palestinian state. The failed resolution, which was shared with Security Council members in mid-December and then toughened this week, also sets the stage for a sharp political confrontation before the Israeli elections in March.

“They had ample opportunity to engage and be part of this effort,” said the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour. “How long do we have to wait?”

The Palestinian leadership is to meet Wednesday in Ramallah and announce the next steps. “I.C.C. is clearly an option; I cannot say whether it will be approved,” Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Tuesday.

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