Israel announced Sunday that it had blocked an upcoming bid by the Palestinians to gain full membership at the United Nations -- saving the U.S. from having to veto such a push if it came before the Security Council.
It was just last month that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said he would seek full membership this month to the world body.
However, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon started lobbying U.N. member states and several Security Council members in recent weeks to prevent such a push. Danon had made it clear to those with whom he spoke that the Palestinians did not meet the conditions of full U.N. membership, in part due to its payments to terrorists.
“We exposed the hypocrisy of the Palestinians,” Danon said in a statement. “They continue to pay terrorists every month and to encourage violence and incitement against Israel; therefore, they are very far from meeting the definition of a "peace loving" state. The [Palestinian Authority] continues to error in its attempt to establish facts on the ground through unilateral moves while it has not abandoned the path of terror."
The Israeli mission said the Palestinians now understand that the chances of the proposal passing have gone, and they are shelving the plan to promote the status upgrade. A visit from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and al-Maliki to the United Nations is expected to take place around the time of the Security Council’s quarterly debate on the Middle East on January 15.
The Palestinian U.N. Mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.
The Palestinians would need nine votes in favor of their upgrade and no veto. The U.S. likely would have vetoed such a move in the Security Council but can save it for now. It also spares the U.S. a diplomatic dustup that it could currently do without -- with a partial government shutdown in Washington, and no replacement confirmed yet for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
In 2011, the last time the Palestinians tried to get full U.N. recognition, they realized the math was not in their favor and the vote was tabled.
Earlier this week the Security Council president for January, Jose Singer of the Dominican Republic, told reporters he had not received a letter from the Palestinians regarding a request for an upgrade to their U.N. status, and that had not changed Sunday according to another senior diplomat from the U.N. mission of the Dominican Republic who spoke to Fox News.
While the Palestinians did manage to upgrade their status at the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to that of non-Member Observer State status, it seems the upcoming Abbas visit now will be to celebrate their recent elevation to the chairmanship of the influential Group of 77 - a bloc of 135 developing countries including nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba, China and Venezuela.
Ever since it upgraded its status at the United Nations, the Palestinians have sought to join U.N. agencies and international organizations in an attempt, critics have claimed, to make an end-run around final negotiations. In 2018 the P.A. joined 11 such organizations with the aim of joining more in the future. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has called on the Trump administration to defund those organizations as required by U.S. law.
Both the U.S. and Israel have accused the U.N. of harboring an anti-Israel bias while ignoring acts of terrorism by Palestinian militant groups. The U.N. General Assembly last month shot down a U.S. resolution condemning terrorist acts by Hamas.
National Security Advisor John Bolton was visiting Israel over the weekend. On Sunday, he described the U.S.-Israel relationship as “unbreakable” and said that “our ties grow ever stronger by the day.”