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U.S. vetoes Palestinian attempt to be recognized as a full U.N. member state

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Let's turn now to the United Nations, where the U.S. has vetoed the Palestinian Authority's attempt to upgrade their status at the global institution. Palestinians currently have nonmember observer state status, and now they are seeking full membership for a state of Palestine. The U.S. says that has to be done through negotiations with Israel. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Algeria's Ambassador Amar Bendjama introduced the resolution, saying its failure is a, quote, "everlasting shame."

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AMAR BENDJAMA: Algeria's efforts will not cease until the state of Palestine becomes a full member of the United Nations.

KELEMEN: Palestinian special envoy Ziad Abu Amr called this the perfect time to upgrade from an observer state to a full voting member. He spoke earlier in the day through an interpreter.

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ZIAD ABU AMR: (Through interpreter) History has taught us that our region will not enjoy stability without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live in security and peace with its neighbors.

KELEMEN: Israel's Ambassador Gilad Erdan said this whole debate has zero connection to what's happening on the ground.

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GILAD ERDAN: Six months after October 7, the most brutal massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, this council seeks to reward the supporters and perpetrators of these atrocities with statehood.

KELEMEN: He said the Palestinian Authority has no control over Gaza, where Hamas is still holding hostages, and he read out this part of the U.N. charter.

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ERDAN: Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving states. Peace-loving - what a joke.

KELEMEN: U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood cast the lone no vote on the Security Council, saying action at the U.N. won't help the Palestinians achieve statehood.

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ROBERT WOOD: This vote does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but instead is an acknowledgement that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties.

KELEMEN: The Biden administration has been trying to put together a diplomatic package that would include Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel and what officials call a time-bound, clear pathway to a Palestinian state. Wood says that diplomacy continues.

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WOOD: Hamas and its Iranian backers would probably prefer this effort not succeed, but we are determined to see it through.

KELEMEN: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the whole region is on a knife's edge. He says that makes it more important to find lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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