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Israel's Netanyahu And Nigeria's Jonathan Forging Allies As Nigeria Pulls Last-minute Surprise To Block Palestinian UN Resolution

02 December 2014

By Luqman Abdr-raheem

Muslim Associations in Nigeria, MAI should lampoon GEJ on Saturday for siding with injustice and enemies of Muslims --

Premium Times

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 resolution.

Nigeria, Britain, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania abstained.

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 support.

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 negotiated solution".

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 block it.

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.

To 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 reported.

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.

"I 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 negotiations.

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 States.

A 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.

ANALYSIS: 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 told reporters.

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 arbitrary deadlines".

"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 against Israel.

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 "non-negotiable rights."

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 borders.

"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 political cover.

©  EsinIslam.Com

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