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UN Resolution Criticizing Israeli Settlements Delayed

Image: UN Resolution Criticizing Israeli Settlements Delayed

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Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 12:27 PM

A vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank scheduled for Thursday was delayed amid uncertainty over the U.S. position on the proposal and calls by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for a veto.

The UN vote, initially scheduled for 3 p.m. New York time Thursday, was delayed with no confirmation of when it will now take place, according to four officials with knowledge of the discussions who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

The White House and State Department had declined to say how they would vote on the resolution, which would have declared all Israeli settlements illegal under international law and demanded that the country cease construction in the West Bank and other territories captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Specifically, the draft text circulated by Egyptian diplomats said the establishment of settlements has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle” to a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called for the U.S. to reject the proposal.

“It’s bad for Israel; it’s bad for the United States; and it’s bad for peace,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The U.S. has vetoed similar resolutions in previous years and the Obama administration has generally shied away from branding the Israeli settlements as illegal, preferring to call them “illegitimate.”

Earlier on Thursday, Trump issued a statement calling for the U.S to exercise its veto, saying the resolution "puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."

The incoming U.S. president has taken a very public stance on U.S.-Israel ties, vowing to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move Palestinians say would effectively end the peace process. He’s also nominated David Friedman, a staunch supporter of settlements who opposes the two-state solution, as his ambassador to Israel.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been at a stalemate since 2014 over the settlements issue. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says all settlement construction must cease before any resumption of peace negotiations. Netanyahu says restrictions on building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem can only be accepted in face-to-face negotiations aimed at producing a comprehensive peace agreement.

Some 400,000 Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built in the West Bank over nearly 50 years. Another 300,000 live in east Jerusalem, which was also captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, but which Israel annexed in a step that hasn’t been recognized internationally.

 

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A vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank scheduled for Thursday was delayed amid uncertainty over the U.S. position on the proposal and calls by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for a veto.
israel, vote, trump, delay, united nations
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2016-27-22
Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 12:27 PM
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