United Nations Security Council has failed to adopt a draft resolution demanding Israel end the occupation of Palestinian territories within two years as Australia and the United States vote against the proposal in New York on Tuesday.

It was the first time Australia has voted against a proposed resolution during a two-year term on the council.

The chief Palestinian representative in Canberra believed Australia’s relationship with Palestinians and the Arab world will be damaged by its decision to vote against a UN resolution. Abdulhadi said:

“It was very disappointing and regrettable … and will unfortunately affect relations with Palestine and the Arab world”

The draft outlines the proposed solution – a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel and a “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017 – and would have welcomed Palestine as a full UN Member State within the 12-month timeframe, urging both parties to build trust and negotiate in good faith.

The Arab coalition’s bid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli “occupation” by 2017 gathered only 8 votes in favour, so it was automatically defeated. The veto power US and Australia voted against the move with 5 abstentions.

Eight of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour, one fewer than the nine members needed to pass a resolution in the absence of a veto by any of the Council’s five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom or the United States. Another veto power state, the UK, along with Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea and Rwanda have abstained from the vote.

Riyad Mansour (C), the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, looks back before the Security Council votes on a Palestinian-drafted resolution, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Dec. 30, 2014. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

Riyad Mansour (C), the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, looks back before the Security Council votes on a Palestinian-drafted resolution, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Dec. 30, 2014. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, said the draft was tabled in the face of a political impasse caused by “Israeli intransigence” adding:

 “The Security Council has once again failed to uphold its Charter duties”

Chad’s representative, Mahamat Zene Cherif, current Council President, said, the Council had missed an opportunity give the Palestinians “a ray of hope” after direct talks yielded almost nothing.

The timing of the vote caught some by surprise, with expectations it would be delayed until the New Year and a change in the council membership. Australia and Rwanda are to complete their temporary two-year term in December, with incoming members New Zealand, Malaysia and Venezuela believed to be sympathetic to the Palestinian position.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the proposed resolution was “one-sided” and failed to take into account Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

Her comments were echoed by Australia’s representative Gary Quinlan, who said the proposed text “lacks balance and seeks to impose a solution put forward by one party alone”. Mr Quinlan said there was a “terrible human cost” from the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and Australia remained committed to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

UN Security Council vote on Palestinian draft resolution

YES: Jordan, China, France, Russia, Luxembourg, Chad, Chile, Argentina.

NO: United States, Australia.

ABSTAINED: United Kingdom, Lithuania, Nigeria, South Korea, Rwanda.