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5 May, 2018 02:19

Israel withdraws its bid for UN Security Council seat

Israel withdraws its bid for UN Security Council seat

Seeing little support amid international criticism over its violent crackdown on Palestinian protesters, Israel has announced it will not be seeking a rotating two-year non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

“After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the State of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council,” the Israeli delegation to the UN said.

At the same time, the diplomatic mission stressed that the country will remain “active” in the United Nations to exercise the country's rights in the decision-making processes of the world body. “This includes the Security Council as well as an emphasis on areas related to development and innovation,” the statement added.

The State of Israel, which has never been a member of the UNSC, decided to throw in the towel after realizing that it had little chance of beating Germany and Belgium in the upcoming United Nations General Assembly vote, which is set to choos e the rotating members of the Council on June 8, a source at the UN told Reuters.

Earlier, the Palestinian Authority noted that the Arab states would prevent Tel Aviv from obtaining enough votes to assume a seat at the Council. “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,” Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, noted earlier.

“A country that violates international laws and conventions, that violates UN resolutions and principles, cannot sit down to dictate the fate of security and peace around the world,” he added.

The Jewish state’s decision to withdraw its bid comes amid massive international criticism over its use of lethal force to suppress the so-called 'Great March of Return' protests along the Gaza border which have been ongoing weekly since March 30. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Israeli crackdown has resulted in at least 45 deaths, inclusive of two journalists, who were shot despite wearing jackets marked ‘PRESS’. More than 6,700 others have been injured in the ongoing rallies, set to conclude on May 15.

Brussels and Berlin will now run uncontested in the Western European and Others group at next month's vote in the UN General Assembly when the 193-member body will decide on five new members for a two-year term, starting on January 1, 2019. Belgium and Germany, however, still need to secure a two-thirds majority to be elected.

The UNSC, in which the five permanent members –the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia– hold veto powers, is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions. In addition to permanent members, there are five seats for African and Asian states, two for the Latin American and Caribbean states, two for Western European and other states, and one for Eastern European states. The rotation system was devised to ensure geographical representation on the Council.

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