The Palestinian Authority condemned the US move. “This aggressive American policy towards Palestine, its people and their legitimate rights constitutes a blatant aggression against international law and is an encouragement to the continuation of the genocidal war against our people (…), which is driving the region even further to the brink “It is driving us into the abyss,” said the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The rejection “will not break our will and will not stop our resolve,” said Palestinian UN envoy Rijad Mansur. “We will not stop our efforts. The state of Palestine is inevitable, it is real.”

The Chinese ambassador spoke of a “sad day” and expressed his “disappointment” over the US veto. The dream of the Palestinian people has been destroyed.

The permanent Security Council member USA had made no secret of its rejection of the initiative. The UN is not the right place to recognize a Palestinian state – rather, it should emerge from an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The United States has repeatedly used its veto power in the past to advocate for its ally Israel.

“The United States continues to strongly support the two-state solution,” US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said after the vote. The two-state solution envisages an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel. The vote does not reflect a rejection of a Palestinian state, but rather a recognition of the fact that it can only be achieved through “direct negotiations between the parties.”

Israel had repeatedly criticized the fact that the Security Council was even discussing this proposal and called it “immoral.” “Speaking to this council is like speaking to a wall,” said Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan. The supportive voices would encourage Palestinians not to return to the negotiating table and “make peace almost impossible.”

For a state to be admitted to the UN, a recommendation from the Security Council must first be made – with at least nine out of 15 votes and without a veto from a permanent member. The application must then be approved by the UN General Assembly with a two-thirds majority.

Palestinian UN envoy Mansour wrote to UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this month asking that the process of full membership for the Palestinians be resumed. The Palestinians have had observer status at the United Nations since 2012, but have been demanding full membership for years.

A majority of the 193 UN member states unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state; according to the Palestinian Authority, 137 do so. Germany does not recognize Palestine as a state, but maintains diplomatic relations with the Palestinian territories.