France, Britain, Colombia, Bosnia To Abstain On Palestinian Statehood Vote – OpEd


Most people concerned with the UN Secuity Council’s upcoming vote on Palestinian statehood have been focussing on the number 9.  Nine votes are required to pass a resolution and if it receives that many, a member may then veto the resolution.

Apparently, if Palestine fails to secure the nine votes (which would be followed by a U.S. veto), it is unlikely the General Assembly would then take up the matter.  This is what the U.S. hopes as it wishes to avoid the embarrassing phenomenon of vetoing a resolution supporting a policy it purports to support (Palestinian statehood).  With the statehood bid supposedly dead, the Obama administration would breathe a sigh of relief that it, and its ally Israel, had dodged a bullet.

But there is another eventuality few have considered and which could be almost as embarrassing.  Until now, the U.S. seemed assured of getting the No votes of its traditional allies on the Council, France, German and Britain.  But France has announced it will abstain and a BBC foreign editor tweeted yesterday night and the Telegraph reported that the UK will also abstain.

According to the latter, Colombia, another traditional U.S. ally will also abstain.  It appears likely that Bosnia too will abstain.  That means that Palestine will likely get 8 Yes votes and the U.S. will have a total of only three No votes.  In other words, only two other nations on the Council will likely join us in casting our vote.  I’d say that’s pretty damn pathetic.

The question now is whether German will as well.  If it does, it leaves the U.S. practically alone on the Council in voting No.  It will still mean the vote will likely fail, but it will be tremendously embarrassing that we couldn’t even carry our allies with us on this one.  If you are German, please urge your government to either vote Yes or at the least abstain.  In my view, an abstention is a tacit vote in opposition to the U.S. campaign against a Palestinian state.  Eight votes in favor and three opposed should tell the U.S. something and be yet another nail in the coffin of our bankrupt foreign policy regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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