United Nations, Dec 31: The UN Security Council has failed to adopt a Palestinian statehood resolution that set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories by 2017.
The long-anticipated draft tabled here last night drew the support of eight countries —- Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg, Russia —- just one shy of the nine needed to pass a resolution in the absence of a veto by any of the Council's five permanent members.
The United States and Australia opposed the resolution while the United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania abstained.
The resolution failed to receive the required majority among members, the United States also opposed the text, a move that would have seen the draft fail to pass.
The draft outlined a solution which fulfilled the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states —- Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine —- living side by side in peace and security in mutually and internationally recognised borders.
It also outlined several parameters for the proposed solution –- with a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel and a "full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces" from the West Bank by the end of 2017 – and would have looked forward to welcoming Palestine as a full UN Member State within the 12-month time frame, urging both parties to build trust and negotiate in good faith.
The text also envisaged a "just solution" to the status of Jerusalem as the capital of the two states and to the question of Palestinian refugees as well as to all other outstanding issues, including control of water resources and the fate of prisoners in Israeli jails.
Security arrangements for the transition would have required a "third-party presence".
Following the vote, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN Samantha Power stressed her country's support for new ways to constructively support both parties in achieving a negotiated settlement.
"This resolution is not one of those constructive steps," she said, adding that the draft set the stage for "more division, not compromise."
The vote set-up a "staged confrontation" that did not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question, especially as the text was "deeply imbalanced", establishing "unconstructive deadlines", she said.
UK's representative Mark Lyall Grant said while he supported much of the draft's content, he was disappointed by the lack of negotiation and so had abstained.