With US abstaining, UN Security Council demands Israelis end West Bank settlements

Dec 26, 2016, 00:32
With US abstaining, UN Security Council demands Israelis end West Bank settlements

Egypt requested that the vote be postponed, one day after submitting the draft text to the council, a move that triggered immediate calls from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a United States veto to block the resolution.

The resolution was approved on Friday with 14 of the 15 members of the councils in favour of it.

Netanyahu criticised the Obama Administration for letting the resolution pass: "From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama Administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed", Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday.

In a Christmas greeting on Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: "Despite the Israeli occupation, our presence in our homeland and the preservation of our cultural and national heritage are the most important form of resistance in the face of the darkness of a foreign colonialist occupying power".

The settlements are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disputes this.

That enabled the adoption of the first United Nations resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

"It's a resolution that shouldn't surprise anyone as such", Mr Mekelberg told i.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decried the "absolutely shameful" US abstention. The Middle East peace process has been comatose since a USA initiative to re-launch peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

Trump has spoken out in support of Israeli settlements before. "If you can't show the American people that worldwide organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break".

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted. A senior diplomat talks to Haaretzand suggests there was general anger in the diplomatic community over the date of the summons: "What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur". "Obama has decided he is not going to play this game". On Thursday morning, President-elect Donald Trump weighed in, posting on Facebook that the resolution should be vetoed. "This is a lasting legacy".

Afterward, Trump - who takes office in four weeks - tweeted: "Things will be different after January 20th". He earlier encouraged the council to reject the motion. Some 570,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that Washington's abstention stemmed from concerns that the expansion of the Jewish outposts was threatening the two-state solution aimed at achieving peace by creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The resolution, which passed 14-0, condemns Israel for what it described as a "flagrant violation" of worldwide law.

On the other hand, other sources say the United Nations resolution is causing pro-settlement factions in Israel to push even further, bringing up a vote on a deeply controversial bill to officially legalize a number of outposts.

Israel's ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal - countries who along with Malaysia and Venezuela tabled the draft resolution - were immediately ordered to return to Tel Aviv for consultations. "Our unified Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel". "I don't think so", he added.

The tweet came after the USA refrained from vetoing the adoption of a Security Council measure calling on Israel.

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