Could the election of five new U.N. Security Council members help the Palestinians?

The U.N. General Assembly will elect five new members to two-year terms on the Security Council in a vote on October 21 that could have implications for the Palestinian bid to become a full member of the United Nations.

For the Palestinians to get that, they need nine yes votes on the 15-nation council—and no veto from any of the permanent five members—to move on to a vote in the 193-member assembly where they’re guaranteed to prevail. The U.S. will veto the council measure but getting nine Security Council votes in support would represent an important moral victory for the Palestinians.

The membership bid was submitted on September 23 and is currently under review by a council committee. It’s widely accepted that a vote will not take place while other developments are ongoing in the region, namely the Quartet’s proposal to get direct talks underway on October 23 in Jordan, so the vote could be delayed until next year.

As it stands, six of the current council members support the Palestinian bid—permanent members China and Russia—and non-permanent members Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa, while three are considered swing votes—Bosnia, Gabon and Nigeria.

Of the nine above countries, five will end their terms on the council at the end of the year—Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.

Togo will replace one of the African countries per an established agreement while Mauritania and Morocco will battle it out for the North African (or Arab) seat—both of these countries support the membership bid, assuring the Palestinians of one more yes vote. The situation is unclear with Togo. They have recognized the State of Palestine but, as with Gabon and Nigeria, will probably play a wait-and-see approach.

Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan are vying for Lebanon’s seat, both would vote for the Palestinians so no change there.

Guatemala, running on a clean slate, will replace Brazil on the council. The Central American country has not recognized Palestine and is an ally of the U.S., and is thus likely to abstain in any vote—one vote lost.

There’s some real competition for the Eastern European seat with Hungary, Slovenia and Azerbaijan battling it out to replace Bosnia. One of the two EU countries—Hungary or Slovenia—is likely to win out, and would presumably join the four other EU council members in abstaining.

So one gain and one loss for the Palestinians if the vote extends to the New Year. Plus ca’ change…

(Here’s a list of current Security Council members.)

George Soros Sympathizes With Anti-Wall Street Protesters

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros on Monday said he sympathizes with the anti-Wall Street protesters because of the way the government handled the bank bailouts.

Soros, speaking at the U.N. where he was announcing a $47 million gift to development projects in Africa, was asked for his view of the protesters who have entered Day 15 of their Occupy Wall Street campaign.

“Actually I can understand their sentiments, frankly, because there are a lot of people, for instance, running small businesses that saw their credit card charges being raised from 8 percent to 28 percent,” he said. “They were relying on that credit to run their businesses—a lot of them actually were put out of business.”

“At the same time, the decision not to inject capital into the banks, but to effectively relieve them of their bad assets and then allow them to earn their way out of a hole, gave the banks bumber profits and that allowed them to pay bumper bonuses,” Soros added.

The decision not to inject capital into the banks also caused a credit crunch depriving small business owners of credit lines and loans to pay salaries and expand their businesses. And while there’s been an uptick in lending recently, according to the FDIC’s latest report, there’s actually been a decrease in loans to small businesses, according to the report.

There are some 140,000 small business owners in New York City, according to Crain’s New York Business, almost half of them foreign born.