Palestinians may push for U.N. vote they expect to lose

The Guardian reports: The Palestinians are resigned to losing their battle for majority backing within the United Nations security council for their application for full UN membership but may still press for a vote next week in an attempt to discomfort countries who abstain or vote against.

The security council is to meet in New York on Friday to consider a report on the Palestinian bid. However, the Palestinians have failed to muster the required two-thirds majority among its 15 members, thus sparing the US the need to use its veto to prevent the application being approved.

The Palestinians will also officially receive the report on Friday and the leadership will meet to decide future steps, according to a Palestinian official. “There will definitely be no vote [at the security council] tomorrow,” he said.

One of the options for the Palestinians to consider is to demand a vote next week, knowing they will lose. “Let these countries publicly justify why they will not support a Palestinian state,” said the official. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, looked “deeply uncomfortable” in the House of Commons this week when explaining Britain’s decision to abstain in any vote, he added.

Another option is to take their case to the UN general assembly without a security council vote. The Palestinians are expected to win the support of more than two-thirds of the UN’s 193 countries, but the general assembly can only approve upgraded observer status rather than full membership.

However, enhanced “non-member state” status may allow the Palestinians access to international bodies such as the international criminal court.

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