The United States told them not to bring up the vote, insisting on negotiations rather than an imposed timetable. Israel told them not to, heck even Hamas told them not to but Palestinian President Abbas went ahead with a UN Security Council vote which would have established a Palestinian State within a year, forced an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 12/2017 and divided Jerusalem all on the Palestinian terms. failed by one vote thanks to a last minute switch by Nigeria.
China, Russia. Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Luxembourg and of course France voted for the resolution but it needed nine votes to pass. Australia and the United States voted against the resolution. The UK, Lithuania, South Korea, Rwanda, and Nigeria abstained.
Earlier this week it was expected that the Palestinians would put off the vote until the New Year, but the PA believed it had the nine votes and after a Tuesday morning meeting of the 22 UN Arab states, the Jordanian Ambassador announced his call for an immediate vote that would have forced to US to decide whether or not to use their veto (a veto would have been certain under any previous administration),
“I spoke with both of them, they promised me personally that they would not support this decision, and they stood by their words. That is what tipped the scales.”
One of the yes votes was surprising to Israel:
But France’s yes vote was a jaw-dropper. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem was caught entirely off-guard when it emerged, just hours before the vote, that Paris had changed its position and intended to vote in favor. French diplomats had spent weeks working on their own, “softer” statehood resolution, which gave Israel more time for a withdrawal and included several provisions more to Israel’s taste, including more acceptable phrasing on the refugee issue.
The Palestinians refused to adopt the French version, and submitted their own, making a few changes en route that rendered the text still less acceptable to Jerusalem. The final draft added the release of Palestinian prisoners to the list of outstanding issues that require a “just settlement” and demanded the cessation of all Israeli settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem. While an earlier draft spoke of Jerusalem “as the shared capital of the two States,” the version defeated on Monday states explicitly that East Jerusalem shall be the capital of the State of Palestine and envisages “a just resolution of the status of Jerusalem as the capital of the two States.”
That was a mistake by the Jewish State, while they should always try and get support from France it is naive for them to believe that in the end France wont find a way to screw any of its allies.
On the other side of the coin the defeat was a major political embarrassment for leader of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, and his Fatah Party’s partner in the government, Hamas exploited it as soon as the vote was announced:
The Islamist Hamas movement denounced Abbas on Wednesday for “failure” to push through a UN resolution setting an end date for the Israeli occupation.
“This was a unilateral decision taken by Abu Mazen (Abbas) who has taken the Palestinian decision-making process hostage,” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum told AFP, describing it as a “new failure” by the Palestinian leader. – AFP
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that PA leadership would be meeting Wednesday (today) to determine next steps. He promised the PA would decide a strategy immediately.
“There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown.We are going to meet and make decisions.”
The PA is expected to make one of two moves. They can resubmit the resolution in the New Year when the Security Council rotates five of it members.
Their other option is to join the International Criminal Court and sue Israel for War Crimes, something they have been threatening ever since they were granted UN Observer status. This move would not be a very astute move by the PA as it would be a direct violation of previous agreements signed with Israel and it would open up the PA including its partner Hamas to more viable charges of war crimes including evidence of using its citizens as human shields.
Either way while many of us will be sipping champagne at midnight, the diplomatic corps of Israel the Arab States and the Palestinian Authority will be making their initial maneuvers trying to ensure things go their way in 2015.