Israel will go ahead with its candidacy for an unprecedented seat on the UN
Security Council in 2019 despite Germany’s determination to run against it,
diplomatic officials told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni brought up in
separate meetings on Friday with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido
Westerwelle the announcement by Berlin that it will seek a seat on the council
in 2019, badly weakening Israel’s chances to win a first-ever seat on the
Westerwelle’s response, according to diplomatic
officials, “did not leave us optimistic.”
According to the officials,
Westerwelle said that Germany would be glad to support an Israeli bid to sit on
the council if there was a chance that it could garner the 128 seats in the
General Assembly necessary to win a seat. But since Berlin considered those
chances slim, it decided to put forward its candidacy.
Westerwelle said, Germany’s policy is to sit on the Security Council every eight
years. It last served on the council in 2011.
Candidates for one of the
10 non-permanent seats on the council – the US, Russia, China, Britain and
France are permanent members – are allocated according to regional blocs. As of
2000, Israel became a member of the 28-strong Western European and Others (WEOG)
regional group, a move that opened the door to Israel’s possible participation
in the Security Council.
Israel is the only country in the region – and
one of the few countries in the UN – that has never sat on the body. In September 2005, soon after Israel withdrew from the
Gaza Strip and then-prime minister Ariel Sharon was warmly received in the UN,
then-foreign minister Silvan Shalom announced that Israel would vie for a spot
in 2019, the next date in which both WEOG slots had not already been claimed – a
situation in UN jargon termed a “clean slate.” Until Germany announced its
candidacy, only Israel and Belgium were vying for the two
Westerwelle said that it was highly unlikely that no other country
from WEOG would vie for a spot in 2019, and it was better for Israel that
Germany bid for the slot, rather than a less friendly country.
Westerwelle’s position, Jerusalem does not believe that the “door is closed” on
the matter, and that following Germany’s September federal elections and the
possibility of a change of some key personalities in the decision-making
apparatus in Berlin, there could be a change of heart. In any event, one
official said, 2019 is still a long way off.
Either way, the official
added, Israel would pursue its candidacy because running for a seat on the
Security Council is an important act in Jerusalem’s efforts to fight
delegitimization and illustrate Israel’s “normalcy.”