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Published On: Wed, Dec 31st, 2014

Israeli PM hails Jonathan for foiling Palestinian independence

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From Edoama Hanson with agency report

BENJAMINThe Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday praised President Goodluck Jonathan after Nigeria pulled a last-minute surprise that helped thwart a resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory by 2017.
The resolution, presented to the United Nations (UN) for approval, called for new talks based on territorial lines that existed before Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
The proposal was the culmination of three months of campaigning by the Palestinians at the UN, and was backed by 22 envoys from Arab states.
The Palestinians required nine votes from 15 permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Nigeria is currently one the 10 non-permanent members, with its tenure expiring in 2015. Chad and Rwanda are the other African members.
But Palestine received eight votes, short of one, during the vote.
The United States and Australia voted against the resolution, while Russia, China, France, Luxembourg, Jordan, Argentina, Chile and Chad voted for the resolution.
Nigeria, Britain, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania abstained.
Nigeria’s role stood out because until shortly before the vote, diplomats had expected the resolution to get nine “yes” votes, with Nigeria believed to be in support.
But at the last minute, Nigeria’s envoy, Joy Ogwu, abstained from voting, echoing the position of the United States that the ultimate path to peace between Israel and Palestine lies “in a negotiated solution”.
Nigeria, Britain, South Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania abstained.
Nigeria’s role stood out because until shortly before the vote, diplomats had expected the resolution to get nine “yes” votes, with Nigeria believed to be in support.
But at the last minute, Nigeria’s envoy, Joy Ogwu, abstained from voting, echoing the position of the United States that the ultimate path to peace between Israel and Palestine lies “in a negotiated solution”.
Nigeria’s position on the complex Israel and Palestine issue has been that of neutrality for years, in the belief that any decision must be attained through negotiations.
Nigeria has maintained that policy in what analysts believe is informed by the government’s sensitivity to many factors including, not wanting to be seen as supporting Palestine’s Hamas, or opposing the United States.
A major factor also is the religious angle back home, with many Nigerian Muslims supporting Palestine, while there is also the Christianity affiliation between Nigeria and Israel.

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