Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution on U.N. Observer Force

On 18 December 2000, the U.N. Security Council voted on a draft resolution presented by the six NAM countries (Bangladesh, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Tunisia) of the Council, in which the Council "expresses its determination to establish a U.N. force of military and police observers to be dispatched throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967". The result of the vote was 8 in favor (China and Ukraine along with the six above-mentioned countries) and 7 abstentions. As such, the draft resolution was not adopted due to the lack of the prerequisite 9 votes in favor.

The failure to adopt the draft was, of course, the result of huge American pressure, leading to a change in the positions of some Council members. However, in light of the continuing situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which necessitates protection for Palestinian civilians, Palestine and the members of the NAM caucus insisted on holding a vote on the draft resolution. While expecting defeat of the draft, they insisted on a vote in order to maintain the credibility of their political position and to assure public responsibility by each member of the Security Council, while also opening the door for other action in the future.

In this regard, in a letter to the President of the Council on 19 December 2000, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N. noted that no negative votes were cast on the draft and that several of the abstaining members of the Council indicated that they only had difficulty with the timing of the vote. He concluded by stating that this should allow for another vote soon on a draft resolution, with hopefully different results for ensuring the provision of protection for Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation.