The UN draft resolution calls for an end to Israeli settlements

The UN draft resolution calls for an end to Israeli settlements

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – A Palestinian-backed U.N. resolution that could be put up for a Security Council vote as early as next week would demand an immediate end to all Israeli settlement activity, condemn Israeli efforts to annex settlements and outposts, “and call. Their immediate opposite.”

In Washington, the State Department said it believed the proposal as drafted was “unhelpful” but declined to say whether it would veto the document or try to water it down to avoid a contentious vote.

Diplomats on the council, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private, said the United States is seeking to replace the resolution with a weaker presidential statement, which would be legally binding.

The push for a vote on the draft resolution, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, came as Israel’s new right-wing government reiterated its pledge to build new settlements and expand its authority over lands in the West Bank. Palestinians want a future state.

In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel captured the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The UN and most of the international community consider Israeli settlements illegal and an obstacle to ending the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. About 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

Ultranationalists opposed to Palestinian statehood form the majority of Israel’s new government, which has declared settlement building a top priority. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has pledged to “normalize” life in the West Bank, erase the distinction between living in a settlement and Israel’s internationally recognized border, and effectively annex the West Bank region.

The draft resolution circulated by the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative to the council, would reaffirm the Security Council’s “unwavering commitment” to a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace as democratic states.

It would also reaffirm the provisions of the UN Charter against Forced Acquisition of Territory and reaffirm that any such acquisition is illegal.

On Tuesday, top diplomats from the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy condemned Israel’s plans to retroactively legalize nine outposts and build 10,000 new homes in existing settlements in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet announced the measure on Sunday after an escalation of violence in Jerusalem.

US Deputy State Department spokesman Vedanta Patel told reporters in Washington on Thursday: “The introduction of this resolution is not helpful in supporting the conditions necessary to advance negotiations for a two-state solution.”

Patel added that Israel’s recent decision to expand settlements and legalize previously illegal settlements was also “unhelpful”.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made the remarks directly to Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a trip to Israel and the West Bank earlier this month, US officials said.

In December 2016, the Security Council demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. It stressed that ending the settlement process was “essential to the two-state solution.”

That resolution “condemns all measures aimed at changing the composition, character and status of the population of the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”

The council resolution was adopted after then-US President Barack Obama’s administration abstained, contradicting long-standing US practice of shielding its close ally Israel from action at the UN, including vetoing Arab-backed resolutions.

The draft resolution now before the council is much smaller than the 2016 resolution, although it repeats key points and much of what the US and Europeans have said.

In addition to the settlement demands, the draft called for “the preservation of the historic status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites in words and in practice.”

It called on Israel and the Palestinians to respect international humanitarian law and their previous agreements and to “observe calm and restraint and refrain from provocative acts, incitement, inflammatory speech and hate speech”.

Supporters of the proposal want a vote on Monday ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, which is being marked by three days of high-level proceedings at the United Nations starting Wednesday.

Perhaps complicating matters for the United States, the Security Council resolution was introduced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, an Arab partner of the United States that has normalized relations with Israel, even as it has taken a softer stance on opposing Russian aggression. over Ukraine.

Ukraine will look to the UAE and other council members sympathetic to the Palestinians to vote in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution later in the week calling for an end to Russia’s aggression and hostilities and an immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces. .


Lee reported from Washington.

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