Israel's Netanyahu And Nigeria's Jonathan Forging Allies As Nigeria Pulls Last-minute Surprise To Block Palestinian UN Resolution
02 December 2014
Muslim Associations in Nigeria, MAI should lampoon GEJ
on Saturday for siding with injustice and enemies of
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,
praised President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday, after
Nigeria pulled a last-minute surprise that helped
thwart a resolution calling for an end to Israeli
occupation of Palestinian territory by 2017.
The resolution, presented to the United Nations for
approval, called for new talks based on territorial
lines that existed before Israel's occupation of the
West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza
Strip in 1967.
The proposal was the culmination of three months of
campaigning by the Palestinians at the UN, and was
backed by 22 envoys from Arab states.
The Palestinians required nine votes from 15 permanent
and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Nigeria is currently one the 10 non-permanent members,
with its tenure expiring in 2015. Chad and Rwanda are
the other African members.
But Palestine received eight votes, short of one,
during the vote which took place 11pm Nigerian time.
The United States and Australia voted against the
resolution, while Russia, China, France, Luxembourg,
Jordan, Argentina, Chile and Chad voted for the
Nigeria, Britain, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania
Nigeria's role stood out because until shortly before
the vote, diplomats had expected the resolution to get
nine "yes" votes, with Nigeria believed to be in
But at the last minute, Nigeria's envoy, Joy Ogwu,
abstained from voting, echoing the position of the United States that the ultimate
path to peace between Israel and Palestine lies "in a
Regardless of whether Palestine received nine votes,
the resolution still stood no chance as U.S. would
have deployed its veto powers as a permanent member to
But analysts believe the U.S. sought to avoid that
scenario as it would have angered Arab allies who are
currently supporting a US-led international coalition
against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS.
save the U.S. from that awkward position, its
Secretary of States, John Kerry, reached out to
Nigeria to help block the move, the Times of Israel
After the vote, U.S. envoy, Samantha Power, said "We
voted against this resolution not because we are
comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it
because… peace must come from hard compromises that
occur at the negotiating table."
The Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu, also said he
personally spoke to President Jonathan and received
his assurance of support.
would like to voice appreciation and thanks to the
United States and Australia, and also special
appreciation for the president of Rwanda, my friend
Paul Kagame, and the president of Nigeria, Goodluck
Jonathan. I spoke with both of them. They told me and
promised me, personally, that they would not support
this resolution. They kept their word, and that's what
clinched this matter. I think this is very important
for the state of Israel," Mr. Netanyahu said.
Some Israeli media hailed the cordial relations
between Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Netanyauhu, with the
Times of Israel recalling how President Jonathan
visited Israel during his last pilgrimage with a
20-member delegation, and how Mr. Netanyahu condoled
with Nigeria after the Kano Mosque blast that killed
more than 100 people.
Nigeria's position on the complex Israel and Palestine
issue has been that of neutrality for years, in the
belief that any decision must be attained through
Nigeria has maintained that policy in what analysts
believe is informed by the government's sensitivity to
many factors including, not wanting to be seen as
supporting Palestine's Hamas, or opposing the United
major factor also is the religious angle back home,
with many Nigerian Muslims supporting Palestine, while
there is also the Christianity affiliation between
Nigeria and Israel.
Did Palestinians Present
Tougher Statehood Resolution To UN?
Palestinian envoys have presented a
more strongly-worded UN draft resolution on statehood
that could come up for a vote at the Security Council
later this week.
The text, which was submitted by Security Council
member Jordan on Monday, contains new provisions on
declaring East Jerusalem the capital of a future
Palestinian state, settling the issue of Palestinian
prisoner releases, and halting Jewish settlements in
the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
It also sets a 12-month deadline to reach a final
peace agreement, and demands a full Israeli withdrawal
from Palestinian lands by 2017.
"Both our leaderships will be discussing, to find the
best way and the best timing to vote on the Security
Council resolution," Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar
Meanwhile, Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said the
vote could "realistically" take place on Tuesday,
though no firm date has been confirmed.
To pass, the motion requires a "yes" vote from at
least nine of the 15 council members, but it can be
vetoed by any of the council's five permanent members,
including the United States.
It remains unclear if the Palestinians will seek a
quick vote or hold off until January 1, when five new
members join the Security Council.
Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela
will begin their two-year stint, replacing Argentina,
Australia, Luxembourg, Rwanda and South Korea.
US strongly opposed to resolution
The US, a staunch supporter of Israel, has said it
would not support the resolution, as US State
Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said it "sets
"And those are more likely to curtail useful
negotiations than to bring them to a successful
conclusion," he said. "We think that the resolution
fails to account for Israel's legitimate security
needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course,
integral to a sustainable settlement."
A first version of the resolution was formally
presented to the council on December 17.
Discussions on the draft resolution come amid mounting
international alarm over the ongoing violence and the
failure to restart negotiations.
Israeli troops shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian boy
in the occupied West Bank during a stone-throwing
incident Monday near the northern city of Nablus.
The Palestinians have warned that if the bid to win
support for a UN resolution fails, they are prepared
to join the International Criminal Court to file suits
Hamas: 'resolution contains massive concessions'
Meanwhile, Hamas on Sunday called for the immediate
withdrawal of a Palestinian draft resolution filed at
the UN Security Council to set a timetable for
Israel's pull-out from Palestinian territories it has
been occupying since 1967.
"The draft resolution contains massive concessions,"
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
He added in a statement that these "concessions"
violate what he called the Palestinian people's
Earlier this month, Jordan, which enjoys non-permanent
Security Council membership, submitted a draft
resolution prepared by the Palestinian Authority
which, if passed, would bind Israel to a November 2017
deadline for withdrawal from Palestinian territories
occupied in 1967.
The blueprint also names East Jerusalem as the capital
of a future Palestinian state based on the pre-1967
"The whole of Jerusalem is Palestinian," Abu Zuhri
said. "This cannot be negotiated," he added, noting
that the Palestinian draft resolution at the Security
Council did not represent all Palestinians.
Abu Zuhri lashed out at what he described as the
"loose" wording of the draft resolution, especially
when it comes to the right of millions of Palestinians
to return to their original homes in Palestine.
"It [the resolution] does not clearly state that the
right of return for Palestinians is fundamental and
cannot be violated," Abu Zuhri said.
"This blueprint gives the occupation more legitimacy
than it had ever dreamed of," he added, expecting the
draft resolution to be used in the future against the
Palestinian cause itself.
The Hamas spokesman went on to call on the Arab
League, which backs the resolution, not to give it a