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The United Nations General Assembly votes to adopt a draft resolution to deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., June 13, 2018 .(Photo by: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
Israel scores victories at U.N.
Israel and the U.S. blocked Palestinian attempt to join Disarmament Conference, and gained vice-chair of NGO committee.
Israel and the US blocked on Monday a Palestinian attempt to gain observer status for the year on the UN-linked Conference on Disarmament (CD), arguing that only states are eligible for this privilege.

Israeli officials said that the Palestinians had hoped to leverage their recent ascension to head the Group of 77 – a group of 134 developing states, plus China, that makes up the largest group in the UN – to gain admission into other UN-affiliated bodies.

Sixty-five states are members in the CD, and each year at its first annual meeting, it approves a list of countries seeking to take part in the discussions as an observer state for the year. This year, 34 states applied, with the Palestinians being the only rejection.

Decisions on this matter are taken by consensus, and when the chair of the conference put Palestine up for consideration, both Israel and the US broke the consensus, arguing that “Palestine” is not legally a state.

The Palestinians pulled their request to join as an observer at the last minute last year, when they recognized they would not be accepted. This time, an Israeli official said, they went through with the request to “cause a ruckus.”

After Israel and the US objected, “all the usual suspects asked for the right to speak and express support” for the Palestinian request, the official said. The countries which expressed support for the Palestinian move were Turkey, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, Venezuela, Cuba, Iraq, Bangladesh, Algeria, North Korea, Egypt and Vietnam.

The argument used to support the Palestinian position was that since they now head the Group of 77, they should be accepted into the CD as well.

The CD was formed in 1979 to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements.

In another small victory at the UN, Nadav Yesod, an adviser at the Israeli mission at the UN, was elected as vice chairman of the UN’s Committee on NGOs, and chaired his first meeting of the committee on Monday.

This 19-member committee considers the applications of NGOs for consultative status to the UN. This status gives those organizations the right to participate in official UN conferences, meetings and discussions.

Yesod’s election comes after Israel has increased its participation in this committee in recent years, leading to the granting of this status to Israeli organizations such as ZAKA, Shalva, ERAN and Krembo Wings.
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