UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES: Israel dropped out Friday of a race for a Security Council seat in 2019 and 2020 following a campaign by Arab states at the United Nations to block the bid.
The decision clears the path for Belgium and Germany to take the two seats allocated on a regional basis when the General Assembly holds the elections next month.
"After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the state of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council," said a statement from the Israeli mission.
Israeli troops fire shots, tear gas at Gaza protesters, 350 Palestinians hurt
It was Israel's first attempt to win a seat at the 15-member council.
No reason was given for the withdrawal, but diplomats said it had appeared clear in recent weeks that Israel would lose to Germany and Belgium in the General Assembly vote on June 8.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki last month said Arab countries were "doing everything possible to convince as many countries as possible to block the vote on Israel's bid for a seat at the Security Council."
Speaking on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Riyadh, Maliki said he was confident that Arab and Muslim states would muster enough votes to block Israel's candidacy.
South Africa and the Dominican Republic are set to win two of the five seats up for election.
Indonesia and the Maldives will be competing for one seat representing the Asia-Pacific group of countries.
The Security Council is made up of five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - while the 10 other seats are filled by elected members that serve two-year stints.
"We will continue to act with our allies to allow for Israel to realize its right for full participation and inclusion in decision-making processes at the UN," the Israeli mission said.
In a first, Palestinian flag to premiere at Cannes film festival
"This includes the Security Council as well as an emphasis on areas related to development and innovation."
Even if a country is put forward as the region's candidate for a seat, it still needs to secure more than two thirds of the overall vote in the 193-nation assembly.
That would have made it difficult for Israel to secure enough votes at the assembly.
European diplomats made clear that they would back fellow European candidates for the two seats.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ