Israel announced on Thursday that it would run for a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council for the 2019-2020 term. The country, aiming for its first tenure ever on the Council, is something of a longshot for the job. But Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told Reuters that the country would go "all out to win" a seat.
Seats on the coveted Council require some success in an international popularity contest, something that hasn't come easily to Israel in the context of the U.N.. For instance, Israel is a member of the Western European and Others Group of the organization despite its geographic location in the Middle East, because the 54-member Asia-Pacific Group rejected its bid to join. The country didn't gain access to WEOG until 2000, on a temporary basis. Its membership in the group is now permanent. And, in August, the Secretary General of the U.N. Ban Ki-Moon condemned Israel's West Bank settlements. Israel would have to get a two-thirds majority in a vote by the 193-member General Assembly to make it onto the Security Council.
Reuters explains more on why Israel's chances are so slim:
Most members of the 120 non-aligned bloc of developing nations are either cool or openly hostile towards Israel. General Assembly votes on issues related to Israel and the Palestinians are usually unfavorable for the Israelis. In November 2012, a General Assembly vote on a Palestinian bid to gain implicit recognition of statehood by upgrading its U.N. observer status to that of "non-member state" - something the Israelis strongly opposed - highlighted how isolated Israel can be at the United Nations. There were 138 votes in favor of the Palestinian request, 41 abstentions and only nine against.
Israel would compete against other candidates from its regional group, putting it up against Germany and Belgium. There are 15 members of the council at any given time: the five permanent members (United States, Britain, France, Russia and China), and 10 rotating members, each serving 2-year terms. The Security Council can impose sanctions or authorize the use of military force, making resolutions passed there much more enforceable than those passed by the General Assembly.
Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Wire. The original story can be found here.