United Nations: The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands, with the United States abstaining.
Diplomats at the world body were in awe as the Obama administration allowed the Security Council to adopt the resolution by abstaining. The vote was 14-0. The resolution was adapted to a round of applause.
It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.
The decision not to veto broke an American tradition of serving as Israel’s diplomatic shield, and defied pressure by President-elect Donald J. Trump and Israel, the New York Times wrote.The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and
Mr Trump. Israel and Mr Trump had called on the US to veto the measure.The US abstention was seen as a parting shot by President Barack Obama who has had an acrimonious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and who has made the settlements a major target of peace efforts that have proven ultimately futile.
The resolution demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and said the establishment of settlements by Israel had “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”.
A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.
Israel says the final status of the settlements should be determined in talks on Palestinian statehood.
Infuriated at Washington’s abstention, Israel’s envoy lashed out at the Obama administration and expressed hope that both Trump and the incoming UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, would establish closer ties with Tel Aviv.
“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” said Danny Danon.
“I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN secretary-general will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” Dannon added.
Meanwhile, the chief Palestinian negotiator and secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, hailed the UN vote as a “victory for the justice of the Palestinian cause,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced resentment.
Erekat said Trump now had to choose between “international legitimacy” or siding with “settlers and extremists.”In a statement released on Friday, the Israel prime minister said it “rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” adding that Obama failed to “protect Israel”.
“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in [US] Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution,” the statement said.
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