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France, Britain, Columbia, Bosnia to Abstain on Palestinian Statehood Vote

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.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Bob Mann November 5, 2011, 8:26 PM

    In this post, you write:

    “Until now, the U.S. seemed assured of getting the No votes of its traditional allies on the Council, France, German and Britain”

    I am curious to know where you got this idea from.

    Every article that I’ve read over the past few months on this subject has indicated that the UK and France were going to abstain.

    For instance, an excerpt from a BBC article from September 24th of this year:

    “The UK and France would almost certainly abstain because they cannot endorse UN membership of a state they have not recognised bilaterally.”


    • Richard Silverstein November 6, 2011, 11:49 AM

      France voted against UNESCO membership & Sarkozy considers himself a friend of the U.S. UK & France are among the U.S.’ closest allies in the world (especially UK). At any rate, I continue to assert that 3 No votes on UNSC is beyond pathetic.

      • Bob Mann November 6, 2011, 3:52 PM

        France voted in favor of UNESCO membership, not against it.

        Where are you getting your information from?

        Personally, I think any “no” vote would be pathetic. Even the US would prefer to abstain. If a veto is not needed, it could very well do that.

  • free man November 6, 2011, 1:18 AM

    The thing is, abstain means ‘No’.
    In order for the vote to pass, you need enough ‘Yes’ votes.
    Any ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’ means the you don’t have a ‘Yes’ vote.
    Those are the only votes counted.

  • pabelmont November 6, 2011, 7:30 AM

    The abstentions you predict will, you say, leave 8 YES votes, presumably cast before the representative of the USA must “decide” how to vote. I suppose if there had been fewer than 8 YES votes, the USA could plan to abstain. However, with 8 YES, USA must vote NO (if it will satisfy its Israeli masters) and must do so ALONE. (Lucky America entered the UN as “USA” and not as “America”, in which case we’d have to cast our vote early rather than late, and before other states had tipped their hands absolutely.)

    USA will block Palestine in UNSC, yet once again, and again without a shred of reason other than the corruption endemic in the USA’s system of (oligarchic control of) elections.

    Oh, the audacity of the PA’s move! And Oh, the audacity of Obama in sliding on his belly under the lashing of AIPAC. Another day to live in infamy for America.

  • pabelmont November 6, 2011, 7:32 AM

    AMENDING PREVIOUS. Darn! I forgot the USA could abstain as a way of voting NO. But the world will understand it as a NO (as it will also understand all the other abstentions).

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