It looks like Palestine’s hopes for being granted full membership to the United Nations may be dashed. A UN admissions committee could not reach a consensus and get the nine votes the Palestinian Authority would need for the Security Council to approve its application.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his desire to be granted full membership at the UN annual meetings in September against the wishes of the US and Israel. But the bid is controversial. If a Palestinian state was recognized it would be on territory currently under Israeli occupation and the Security Council would be forced to act against the occupation of one member state by another.

The Security Council bid has support from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and possibly Gabon and Nigeria, still shy of the nine out of 15 votes needed. The US promised that even if Palestine got the nine votes it would veto the measure because it sees Palestine’s U.N. bid as an attempt to undermine peace talks with Israel. A veto would be bad news for the US because it would cause tensions with the Arab world.

The US was not the only country against Palestine’s push for membership. France's president Nicolas Sarkozy said that France would abstain at the Security Council, but said he would support a move to upgrade Paelstine’s status to a non-member permanent observer state. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that she would vote against admitting Palestine as a UN member state. Meanwhile, Britain said it would abstain from voting on the bid.

In a vote to make Palestine an observer state, no country has a veto and only a simple majority is required. The worry for the US and Israel is that if the Palestinians were to become a permanent observer state to the UN it would open up access to membership in UN-related agencies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they could bring charges against Israel.

If Palestine believes it meets the criteria for statehood set out in the 1933 Montevideo convention, another option is for it to appeal to the World Court (ICJ) to see if members of the Security Council were justified in denying Palestine’s application. The World Court would have to decide whether members of the Security Council made their decision on the Montevideo convention alone and not based on political considerations.