India again abstains in Israel-related UN vote

Sweden, Portugal break ranks from other EU states and abstain, rather than vote for Israel.

July 21, 2015 20:31
1 minute read.
UN Headquarters

Delegates sit for a Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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For the third time in three months, India on Monday opted to abstain, rather than vote against Israel in a UN vote dealing with Middle East issues.

The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) approved the accreditation of the London-based Palestine Return Center, an organization Israel maintains is linked to Hamas, on the same day that the UN Security Council unanimously approved the Iran nuclear deal.

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India abstained in a vote on the Palestine Return Center last month in a smaller UN body that accredits NGOs, but when that body approved the measure, Israel put forward a resolution in the 54-member ECOSOC against it.

That resolution was defeated by a vote of 13 for the Israeli resolution, 16 opposed, and 18 abstentions. The representatives of another seven countries were absent from the vote.

Despite repeated efforts throughout the day on Tuesday for a reaction from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, none was available.

In addition to India’s abstention, other interesting aspects emerged when looking at Monday’s vote.

First of all, the EU countries did not vote as one bloc, with two EU countries – Portugal and Sweden – breaking away from the pack and abstaining, rather than voting for Israel. The following EU countries did vote for Israel: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Great Britain.

Another two non-EU European countries abstained, rather than voting for Israel: Switzerland and San Marino.

One non-EU country in Europe, Albania, voted for Israel, making it the only Muslim country to do so.

Botswana was the only African country to vote for Israel, though five others abstained: Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Togo and Uganda. Only two non-Muslim African countries voted against: South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Three counties with good relations with Israel – China, Russia and Kazakhstan – all voted against.

None of the Latin American countries voted for Israel, while Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil voted against. Two South American countries with very strong ties to Israel, Colombia and Panama, abstained, as did Guatemala and Honduras.

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