Israel to run for seat on UN Security Council
Candidacy would require endorsement by two-thirds majority of general assembly
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the UN general assembly earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters/Adrees Latif
Israel has decided to run for a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council, but faces an uphill battle due to the antipathy of many member states.
Announcing Israel’s first attempt to win a seat on the powerful council, for 2019-2020, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said the time had come for Israeli representation: “We’re going all-out to win. It’s about time.”
Geographically, Israel belongs to the Asia- Pacific bloc of UN states, but due to the opposition of many countries in the region to the Jewish state, it was admitted in 2000 to the West European and others regional group.
Candidate states to the Security Council are proposed by the five regional groups, and Israel will face stiff competition from Germany and Belgium for the two available seats in its regional group.
But its candidacy will still need to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority in the 193-nation general assembly. With open hostility from many Arab and Muslim states, and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the powerful non-aligned bloc, Israel’s bid may prove impossible.
Many Israelis remain deeply suspicious of the world body which is perceived as a bastion of anti-Israel sentiment, even though it was the UN that voted the Jewish state into existence in November 1947, accepting the participation of British mandate Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.
Since then, the relations between Israel and the UN have been turbulent, with the organisation passing hundreds of critical resolutions, which have been largely ignored by Israel. The low point came in 1975 when the general assembly adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism, although this was revoked in 1991.
Israel’s isolation at the UN was illustrated again in November 2012, when the general assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of a “non-member state”.
In his most recent address to the UN general assembly, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel’s future was threatened by a “nuclear-armed” Iran and urged other nations to keep up sanctions against Tehran.