The U.N. atomic watchdog threw out on Friday an Arab-backed resolution urging Israel to accede to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, on the last day of its annual general conference, voted against the resolution, with 51 votes against, 46 votes for and 23 abstentions.
Israel warned the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Friday that an Arab-led push to target the Jewish state in a resolution could deal a "fatal blow" to future cooperation on boosting Middle East security.
An Israeli delegate at the annual assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made the statement during a tense debate on the draft resolution, which calls on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"Adopting this resolution will be a fatal blow to any hope for future cooperative efforts towards better regional security in the Middle East," Israel's IAEA envoy Ehud Azoulay said, shortly before the expected vote.
Arab representatives said Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal threatens regional peace and stability. The Jewish state is the region's only country outside the NPT.
The United States has urged Arab states to withdraw the non-binding resolution, saying it could derail broader efforts to ban such arms in the Middle East and also send a negative signal to the relaunched Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
"It is...unfortunate that this resolution is being pursued at a time when peace talks in the Middle East are being restarted after a long delay," U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies said.
"The divisiveness and confrontation caused by this resolution threatens these talks just as they are being rekindled," he told the assembly.
Israel says it will not consider joining the NPT until there is comprehensive Middle East peace. If it signed the pact, it would have to renounce nuclear weaponry. Arab states say there cannot be peace in the Middle East until Israel gives up nuclear arms.
Israel has never confirmed nor denied having atomic bombs, under a policy of ambiguity to deter its Arab and Islamic foes.
Israel and the United States regard Iran as the Middle East's main proliferation threat, accusing it of seeking to develop atomic weapons in secret. Tehran rejects the charge.
Meanwhile, Iran withdrew Thursday its bid for a seat on one of the key policy-making bodies of the U.N. atomic watchdog because it was unable to secure consensus backing for its candidacy, diplomats said.
The assembly subsequently approved the allocation of the two seats to Jordan and the UAE.