Jordan has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after submitting a final draft resolution on Palestinian statehood Tuesday. Acting on behalf of Arab states, Jordan put forward the resolution, which calls for an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017, for a vote set to take place late Tuesday afternoon in New York.
Jordan’s U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar said that Arab states had agreed that the draft should go to a vote as quickly as possible and that the resolution had the full backing of all 22 Arab delegations, according to Reuters. Despite the unanimous backing from Arab governments, the resolution faces stiff opposition on the council, with many Western member states likely to vote against the motion.
The U.S. State Department said Monday that the Jordanian draft was not “constructive” and failed to take into account Israel’s security needs, reported the Jerusalem Post. The resolution “sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, and those are more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion,” said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke. The comments are a clear sign that Washington, D.C., which holds veto powers on the council, may shoot down the resolution.
Britain, another veto-wielding permanent member of the council, also joined the U.S. Tuesday in criticizing the resolution, though British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant would not say whether his delegation would use its veto power to block the resolution. "There's some difficulties with the text, particularly language on time scales, new language on refugees. So I think we would have some difficulties," the ambassador said in comments reported by Reuters.
The Palestinians have sought to bring the statehood issue to the U.N. after frustration at the lack of progress on peace talks with Israel. The resolution set to go to a vote on Tuesday calls for an agreement on contentious “final status” issues, including a future Palestinian state’s borders and the status of Jerusalem. Several western diplomats expressed their surprise to Reuters over the sudden push to vote on the resolution given the almost certain defeat it faces on the council in its current form. The vote needs nine votes to pass on the 15-member council without a veto from one of the five permanent members.
Below is a live stream from the United Nations. The council meeting is set to begin at 5 p.m. EST.