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UN committee unable to agree on Palestinian bid for full membership

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 – A United Nations Security Council committee considering an application by the Palestinian Authority to become a full U.N. member “was unable to make a unanimous recommendation” on whether it met the criteria, according to the committee report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority is still expected to push the 15-member Security Council to vote – as early as Thursday – on a draft resolution recommending it become a full member of the world body, diplomats said. Security Council member Algeria circulated a draft text late on Tuesday.

Such membership would effectively recognize a Palestinian state. The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in 2012.

But an application to become a full U.N. member needs to be approved by the Security Council, where Israel ally the United States can block it, and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.

The United States said earlier this month that establishing an independent Palestinian state should happen through direct negotiations between the parties and not at the United Nations.

The U.N. Security Council has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

Little progress has been made on achieving Palestinian statehood since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s.

The Palestinian push for full U.N. membership comes six months into a war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Security Council committee on the admission of new members – made up of all 15 council members – agreed to its report on Tuesday after meeting twice last week to discuss the Palestinian application.

“Regarding the issue of whether the application met all the criteria for membership … the Committee was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council,” the report said, adding that “differing views were expressed.”

U.N. membership is open to “peace-loving states” that accept the obligations in the founding U.N. Charter and are able and willing to carry them out. – Reuters

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