Israel urges US to veto UN resolution on halting settlements

Some diplomats hope President Barack Obama will allow Security Council action by abstaining on the vote.

By: Reuters | Jerusalem/united Nations | Published:December 22, 2016 2:59 pm
Israeli settlements, UN Security Council, United Nations, UN Security Council Israel, Israel news, United Nations news, world news, latest news, indian express Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through his Twitter account said the United States “should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday”. (File Photo)

Israel urged the United States on Thursday to veto a U.N. Security Council draft resolution calling for an immediate halt to settlement building on occupied land that Palestinians want for a state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter in the dead of night in Israel to make the appeal, in a sign of concern that President Barack Obama might take a parting shot at a policy he has long opposed and a right-wing leader with whom he has had a rocky relationship.

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Egypt circulated the draft on Wednesday evening and the 15-member council is due to vote at 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Thursday, diplomats said. It was unclear, they said, how the United States, which has protected Israel from U.N. action, would vote.

The resolution would demand Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”.

The White House declined to comment. Some diplomats hope Obama will allow Security Council action by abstaining on the vote.

Obama’s administration has been highly critical of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. U.S. officials said this month, however, the president was not expected to make major moves on Israeli-Palestinian peace before leaving office.

Tweeting at 3:28 a.m., Netanyahu said the United States “should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday”.

Israel’s far-right and settler leaders have been buoyed by the election of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He has already signalled a possible change in U.S. policy by appointing one his lawyers – a fundraiser for a major Israeli settlement – as Washington’s new ambassador to Israel.

In 2011, the United States vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said on Israeli Army Radio: “In a few hours we will receive the answer from our American friends.”

“I hope very much it will be the same one we received in 2011 when the version was very similar to the one proposed now and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, vetoed it.”

The draft text says the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”.

It expresses grave concern that continuing settlement activities “are dangerously imperilling the viability of a two-state solution”.

The United States says continued Israeli settlement building lacks legitimacy, but has stopped short of adopting the position of many countries that it is illegal under international law. Some 570,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.

Danon said nothing would change on the ground if the resolution passes. But he said it could spur Palestinians to seek international sanctions against Israel and impede any return to peace talks that collapsed in 2014.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

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    Allison Carmichael
    Dec 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm
    As always the Apartheid Israelis are completely unreasonable, their terrible history of human right violations and the Genocide they are waging against the indigenous Palestinians aside this latest illegal action needs to urgently and completely be stopped. Any veto by the USA will put them further beyond the pail and as humanity developes and grows the inhumanity of the USA and Apartheid israel will destroy them both.
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      Tom Brennan
      Dec 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm
      "lack legitimacy" is that diplomat speak for illegal? The greatest obstacle to peace is the US continued approval of Israels increased stealing of Palestinian land, water, resources and saying that any complaints against this is "one sided". Either be part of the problem or part of the solution - this time Obama - be part of the solution and acknowledge the increased settlements for what they are - illegal..
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        Tim McGinty
        Dec 22, 2016 at 11:51 am
        The settlements and apartheid will continue until someone forces them to change.
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          littkeninja
          Dec 22, 2016 at 11:56 am
          Unless stopped, Israel will completely annex what is left of the West Bank. It's time to stop the occupation.
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            Lynn Faulkner
            Dec 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm
            No urging is necessary. The U.S. will continue to rubber stamp Israel atrocities as it has always done.
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              Susan
              Dec 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm
              An abstention is the very best one can hope for, but I for one am not holding my breath. The building of these illegal (and inhumane!) settlements remains one of the greatest obstacles to peace in this unholy land.
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