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Spain Removes an Obstacle in Path of Israel’s Membership in U.N. Group

Israel came a step closer to full participation at the United Nations when Spain dropped its objections to letting the Jewish state join the European regional bloc at the world body.

Spain became the last E.U. country to drop its objections, Vice President Al Gore told Jewish leaders Sunday.

“We welcome the news,” Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JTA. “This is an important step toward ending Israel’s isolation at the U.N.

“Its inclusion in a regional group will end an injustice of 50 years standing.”

The process of Israel joining the United Nations’ Western European and Others Group will still take some time because there are still other nations, including Canada, New Zealand and Malta, that have to weight in.

Membership in a regional group is a prerequisite for joining important U.N. committees and the Security Council.

Of all U.N. members, Israel alone is ineligible to sit on the Security Council, while nations cited by the U.S. State Department for terrorism — including Iraq, North Korea and Syria — are eligible because they are members of regional groups.

Admission in a regional group requires consensus on the part of its standing membership: Not all members must approve the admission, but none can object.

Of the five regional groups at the United Nations, Israel geographically belongs to the Asian bloc, but members of that group — Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and others — have consistently blocked Israel’s entry.

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