The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Palestinian resolution in a vote that would have established a Palestinian state within a year and divided Jerusalem without a negotiated settlement with Israel. The failed resolution was a blow to the Palestinian bid to gain support from the international body that would have imposed a solution on Israel. “The result of the vote shows that the Security Council as a whole is clearly not ready and willing to shoulder its responsibilities in a way that would allow for the adoption of a comprehensive resolution and allow us to open the doors for peace and for a just and lasting solution based on international law,” Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour said.

Prior to the vote, Israel Nitzan, the Israeli Mission’s Middle East advisor, charged the Palestinians with doing everything possible to avoid direct talks with Israel. “They have engaged in a steady stream of political games and now they are parading into this council with a preposterous unilateral proposal,” Nitzan said. “I have news for them: you cannot agitate and provoke your way to a state.” The resolution called for Israel to leave the West Bank by 2017. The West Bank is the area known as Judea and Samaria. Israel regained sovereignty over the area in the 1967 Six-Day War. Many Israelis consider it the nation’s Biblical heartland that should not be ceded in any future deal with the Palestinian Authority.

The United States was expected to veto the resolution, but in the end, the resolution was one short of the nine votes needed to pass. Both the United States and Australia voted against the resolution. There were five abstentions including the United Kingdom. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Powers called the resolution “deeply unbalanced” and said it would undermine negotiations. “We voted against this resolution because we know what everyone here knows as well,” Powers said. “Peace will only come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table. Today’s staged confrontation in the U.N. Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two state solution,” she added.

It’s not clear what steps the Palestinians will take now. But it’s likely the United States will increase the pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations. In Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying every country that wants Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement “must act responsibly and clarify to the Palestinians that decisions are only reached at the negotiating table.” The Israeli website Arutz Sheva quoted Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon saying the Palestinian Authority “continues to prove it isn’t interested in direct talks, but rather in provocations and acts of de-legitimization against Israel.”

Source: CBN News

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Why did the Palestinian attempt to achieve statehood via the United Nations fail?  In a surprise move, Nigerian President and devout Christian, Goodluck Jonathan thwarted the passing of the resolution by ordering his country’s ambassador to abstain from voting to recognise Palestinian statehood. An attempt by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to use the United Nations to formally create a “State of Palestine,” was rejected by the UN Security Council in a stunning victory for Israel. The resolution submitted by Jordan on behalf of the PA called for a full Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem by 2017 and the establishment of a state based on pre-1967 borders.

While Israel knew that the resolution would ultimately be vetoed by the US should it have passed, such drastic action was not needed. Nigeria’s  change of heart stood out since diplomats had expected a “yes” vote. The PA believed it had Nigeria’s vote secured since it is part of the Organization of Islamic Conference, a group that claims to be “the collective voice of the Muslim world.” Nigeria’s abstention changed support for the Palestinian resolution from nine to eight votes, leading to the ultimate downfall of the resolution. The culmination of three months of vigorous campaigning by the Palestinians at the UN came to an end.

To understand the significance of Nigeria’s actions, we need look no further than the millions of Christians in Nigeria who support the state of Israel. Nigeria has the largest Christian population of any country in Africa. Some 49.3% of Nigerians are Christians, with more than 85 million people in Nigeria belonging to some sort of Church. Since 1953, the number of Christians in Nigeria more than doubled from 21.4% to 49.3 percent in 2010. While Nigeria has usually maintained a position of political neutrality regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, President Goodluck Jonathan has bolstered ties with Israel since ascending to the presidency. The vote of abstention at the UN marks a historical turning point in support of Israel.

The Nigerian president has made several trips to Israel. In October 2013, Jonathan said, “Nigeria and Israel have a very warm relationship.” During his trips, Jonathan visited the Western Wall as well as several Christian holy sites throughout the country. In October 2014, Jonathan returned to Israel because he wanted to receive a divine blessing before the Nigerian elections in 2015. After the vote at the UN, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement of thanks to President Jonathan. “I would like to voice special appreciation for the president of Nigeria, who promised me personally that he would not support this resolution. He kept his word. This is very important for the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Aside from religious ties, Nigeria and Israel share a common bond over the fight against radical Islamists and violence against non-Muslims. While Israel battles Hamas on the home-front, against an enemy who vows the country’s destruction based on religion, Nigeria is doing the same against Boko Haram who is becoming a constant thorn in the side of Nigeria. For a man who makes no apologies over being a supporter of Israel and who has the backing of thousands of Nigerian Christians, Jonathan’s instruction that Nigeria abstain from voting on Palestinians statehood at the UN Security Council should be no surprise at all.

Source: CBN News

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Israel’s deputy minister of religious affairs, Eli Ben-Dahan, has said that the Israeli government is working on new regulations that would permit Jews to pray at Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “I expect that the prime minister and his government will adopt these regulations …and allow any Jew who wants to ascend the Temple Mount and pray there to do so,” Ben-Dahan said in an address to an emergency conference organized by the Liba Project for Jewish Freedom at the Temple Mount. “The reality in which only Jews are prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount makes no sense and is unreasonable,” the minister continued. “I hope, with God’s help, that we will succeed in changing this reality soon.”

The conference was addressed in person by several other Israeli politicians, as well as by American Christian pastor Keith Johnson, who was ejected from the Temple Mount after the holy site’s Muslim overlords became displeased by his fraternizing with local Jewish activists. “I wasn’t breaking their rules against reading my Bible or praying,” said Johnson. “I was removed because I innocently greeted my friend Rabbi Yehuda Glick (director of Liba) and introduced him to the group I was leading.” Pastor Johnson challenged the Israeli authorities to stop cowing in the face of Muslim intimidation, and find a way to let Jews practice their religious freedom in all parts of the Land, most especially the Temple Mount.

Source: Israel Today

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Last month, in honour of the Hanukkah holiday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi published a holiday greeting in Hebrew, surprising Jews, Israelis and Hebrew speakers around the world. With the European Union moving farther away from its traditional support of Israel, it seems as if the Jewish state is finding a new ally in an uncommon place. According to The Hindu newspaper, India is considering moving away from supporting the Palestinian cause at the UN, Indian government sources said. Prime Minister Modi is looking to move his foreign policies regarding the Palestinians to a state of abstention, the two sources claimed.

“Like other foreign policy issues, the Modi government is looking at India’s voting record at the United Nations on the Palestinian issue,” one of the sources explained. The second said that only an “administrative nod” would be needed to confirm the new policy. The report comes on the heels of what many observers are describing as a new age in Israeli-Indian relations. Since coming to power in May, Modi has met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several times leading to a significant warming in relations. Taking to Twitter, Modi “wished his Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah! May this Festival of Lights and the festive season ring in peace, hope and well-being for all.”

Source: Breaking Israel News

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