You may recall that last December the Security Council considered a resolution to call for an end to the occupation, and that the motion failed because it only got eight yes votes. Nigeria abstained after it had been expected to support the resolution. Now Nigerian Foreign Minister Aminu Wali has apologized to the Palestinian Authority for abstaining. From Middle East Monitor, citing the newspaperAl Quds:
The statement said that Wali has officially apologised to the Palestinian ambassador, citing huge pressure put on his country pushing it to vote against the Palestinian motion. He said that the pressure amounted to a “national security threat”.
The statement does not say who applied the pressure. The Guardian coverage of that vote last December is headlines, “US and Israeli intervention led UN to reject Palestinian resolution:”
The UN security council rejected a Palestinian resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation within three years after Israel and the US crucially intervened to persuade Nigeria to abstain from voting.
Palestinian officials and other observers had thought Nigeria would back a Jordanian-tabled resolution, thereby delivering a nine-vote majority on the council which would have required a US veto to be blocked. Washington had been working strenuously to avoid having to use its veto.
Even a half hour before the vote, Nigeria was expected to support the resolution.
Netanyahu’s pressure, per the Guardian:
Netanyahu confirmed he had spoken to both Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Jonathan before the UN vote. “I spoke with both of them,” he told reporters. “They promised me personally that they would not support this decision and they stood by their words. That is what tipped the scales.”
Netanyahu had a private meeting with the Nigerian president – seen by Israel as a potential ally on the security council – during the latter’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem in October.
IPS reported that Kerry twisted arms, calling Goodluck Jonathan in December to get the abstention.
The United States re-asserted its political and economic clout – and its ability to twist arms and perhaps metaphorically break kneecaps – when it successfully lobbied to help defeat a crucial Security Council resolution on the future of Palestine this week.
And all this so that the U.S. would not have to exercise its veto in the Security Council, as it had in 2011, on the resolution against Israeli settlement activity.
The pressure is of course reminiscent of U.S. lobbying for the partition resolution of 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine. That also involved some armtwisting of smaller nations.
Thanks to Ofer Neiman.