UN Security Council to vote on controversial settlement resolution

17 February 2011

In New York, the Security Council of the United Nations is expected to vote Friday on an Arab-sponsored resolution text which condemns Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. The vote was originally set for Wednesday, but postponed to let the 15 members of the council discuss it more. The draft resolution states: “Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace." The discussions were focused on the United States, which rejects the draft resolution and is likely to block the decision. According to the official all other 14 other members of the Security Council supported the draft resolution, which has been sponsored by 120 UN member states.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad al-Malki said that Washington "would isolate itself" if it vetoed the resolution. "It would mean that America is against implementing international law when it comes to Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian land," he told ‘Voice of Palestine’ radio. He said the Obama administration had presented three compromise offers, but the Arabs had rejected them and requested the Security Council to convene for the vote. One US proposal was to send a fact-finding mission of council members to the Middle East to look thoroughly into the issue of settlements. 

Major Jewish groups in the United States urged the Obama administration to veto the resolution. The Orthodox Union wrote an open letter to the US president, saying that “anything short of the United States casting a veto against a resolution containing such language would be a deviation from America's historic support for Israel against assaults at the UN and, we suggest, counterproductive to your Administration's interests and goals in the Middle East.”

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