Israel has withdrawn its bid to get a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council due to its slim chance of winning.
Israel’s mission at the UN said it had “decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council” after consulting its partners, without providing a reason for the decision.
However, a UN source, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Tel Aviv had pulled out of the race for a Security Council seat in 2019- 20 because of its low chance of winning.
The 15-nation Security Council has five permanent members and 10 elected ones with two-year terms. Five of the non-permanent seats are up for grabs this year, and the UN General Assembly is due to vote next month to decide which countries get them.
Israel, Germany and Belgium were competing for two seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), one of the five regional blocs that run the UN.
Israel dropped its candidacy for the UN Security Council seat amid strong opposition by Arab and Muslim states.
Earlier this month, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that a campaign to block Israel’s bid had been gaining support even among European countries.
“We are doing everything possible to convince as many countries as possible to block the vote on Israel’s bid for a seat at the Security Council,” he said. “We need to secure the one-third vote necessary for a veto, and we believe we can, as Arab and Islamic states.”
Maliki also stressed that a regime “that violates international laws and conventions, that violates UN resolutions and principles, cannot sit down to dictate the fate of security and peace around the world.”
On Friday, Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas at Palestinians thronging the Gaza fence as part of a long-running protest, injuring about 350 people.
Medics said around 50 people were shot and wounded with live fire, three of them critically, and 300 more treated for gas inhalation and other injuries along the Gaza side of the 40 kilometer fence.
Palestinians set up tent encampments at the site on March 30 for what they call “The Great March of Return”.
On Thursday, Ha’aretz cited a statement by the Israeli regime as saying that protests near the Gaza fence amount to an act of war, and thus it is right to respond fatally to the demonstrations in which 45 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks.
The protests take place at a time of growing frustration as prospects for an independent Palestinian state look poor. While the reconciliation talks are stuck, Israel has expanded its settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinians are specially angered by President Donald Trump’s decision to begin moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation on Palestinian territories.
As Israel celebrates the event, Palestinians mourn what they call the “Nakba” (Catastrophe) of their people’s mass dispossession during the conflict that broke out in 1948.