Palestinian FM says Arab states aim to block Israeli Security Council bid

Riyad al-Maliki

RIYADH - A campaign by Arab states to block Israel's bid for a Security Council seat has gained support weeks ahead of a scheduled UN vote, the Palestinian foreign minister said Thursday.
"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," Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh ahead of the Arab Summit this weekend.
"We need to secure the one-third vote necessary for a veto, and we believe we can, as Arab and Islamic states," the minister added.
Maliki said the Palestinian effort to block the vote had also received significant support from European allies.
Israel, Germany and Belgium are in the running for two coveted spots at the Security Council, the UN's most powerful branch.
The 193 members of the UN General Assembly are scheduled to vote on the seats in June.
The United Nations in 2012 approved the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state but left the status of Jerusalem hanging.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in the 1967 war, and the sector is today widely considered occupied territory.
US President Donald Trump in December announced the United States would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state of Israel, sparking a wave of outrage across the Arab world.
"A country 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," Maliki said of Israel.
"This is a clear violation of these principles and we must work to stop their plans. We need to make sure there are no surprises".
Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinians and wounded hundreds others since March 30 as mass protests erupted along the Gaza border. There have been no Israeli casualties.
Israel says its forces have opened fire to stop attempts to damage the fence, infiltrations, bids to carry out attacks and at those seeking to harm soldiers.