News / Middle East

UN, EU, Russia Condemn Israeli Settlements

A bird flies over pieces of wood in an area near Jerusalem known as E1, where there are plans for construction of some 3,000 settler homes, December 6, 2012.A bird flies over pieces of wood in an area near Jerusalem known as E1, where there are plans for construction of some 3,000 settler homes, December 6, 2012.
A bird flies over pieces of wood in an area near Jerusalem known as E1, where there are plans for construction of some 3,000 settler homes, December 6, 2012.
A bird flies over pieces of wood in an area near Jerusalem known as E1, where there are plans for construction of some 3,000 settler homes, December 6, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
All members of the U.N. Security Council, with the lone exception of the United States, have publicly condemned Israel’s recent settlement expansion activities and called for them to end. In a rare move, 14 of the council’s 15 members read public statements of their views instead of seeking formal action by the council, since that likely would have been opposed by the United States.

Normally the Security Council carries on its work around the horseshoe-shaped table inside its chamber. But on Wednesday, 14 council members took to the microphone outside the chamber to express their condemnation of Israel’s latest settlement expansion announcement.

Speaking on behalf of the council’s four European members, British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters the group strongly opposes Israel’s announced plans for more than 3,000 housing units in areas of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and urged Israel to rescind its decision.

“Israel’s announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements send a negative message and are undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate,” he said.

E1 settlements spark furor

Lyall Grant said the international community, and particularly the Security Council, must urgently provide for a credible framework for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Those talks have been stalled for more than a year.

The settlements, especially those in an area known as E1, threaten the contiguity of a potential Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its shared capital with Israel.

Eight of the council’s 15 members are part of the group of more than 120 countries known as the Non-Aligned Movement, or NAM.

Speaking on behalf of NAM, Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri called Israel’s new settlement announcements “provocative” and noted they come in the wake of the November 29 U.N. General Assembly vote upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. status, giving it de facto recognition as a state.

“NAM stresses Israel’s settlement activities constitute grave breeches of international humanitarian law and violate numerous U.N. resolutions, including resolutions of the Security Council," said Puri. "This issue also remains the foremost obstacle to peace, impairing all the efforts to revive credible peace negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Russia, China join fray

In separate statements, both Russia and China expressed their condemnation and concern, with Russia urging ministers of the so-called Middle East Quartet to meet quickly.

The tripartite group known as IBSA - South Africa, India and Brazil - said in an additional statement that Israel's settlements not only must be stopped, but also dismantled.

On Tuesday, Washington criticized its ally Israel, with State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland saying Israel's construction plans "run counter to the cause of peace.” But on Wednesday, the U.S. ambassador did not join her colleagues at U.N. headquarters.  

The U.N. secretary-general has condemned the Israeli settlement activity as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace. He told reporters at his end-of-year news conference that the move is a “near fatal blow to a very fragile Middle East peace process.”  

Israeli envoy downplays move

Israel’s ambassador, Ron Prosor, dismissed Israeli settlement activity as not being among one of the urgent issues of the region, and downplayed the settlement announcements as part of a “bureaucratic process that can take years.”

The Palestinian Authority’s new enhanced observer state status at the U.N. will open the door to some international organizations that were previously off-limits. The would include the International Criminal Court, where Palestinians could ask prosecutors to investigate settlement construction and other Israeli actions on Palestinian land.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said that if Israel continues on the current path, which he said could destroy the two-state solution, the Palestinians would at least be able to resort to “all possible options” available to them, raising the possibility they will go to the court in The Hague.

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Comments page of 2
by: Theo from: Oregon
December 22, 2012 5:51 PM
"Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance." David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel

"For eight years now, they have sat in the refugee camps of Gaza and have watched how, before their very eyes, we have turned their lands and villages, where they and their forefathers previously dwelled, into our home." General Moshe Dayan, Israeli military hero - 1956

by: EthanP from: USA
December 20, 2012 1:42 PM
Interesting how thousands are slaughtered around the world and all of the worlds condemnation is reserved for Israels' settlement policy. I'm sure you've noticed. You're not stupid. I wonder why that is? Actually, we do know, don't we?

by: Hoble Scotch
December 20, 2012 12:34 AM
Ok, so Israeli settlements are bad....but...

Syrian dictators are aok - Russia
I enjoy oppressive social policies - China
Millions of my citizens don't even have clean water - India
We certainly don't have a city run by drug cartels(Rio) - Brazil
We are the result of imperialism - S. Africa

"And why behold you the speck that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?"

by: LeRoy Padmore from: Jersey City
December 19, 2012 11:21 PM
Why are the UN,EU and Russia condemning Israel?it is Israel land.not the Arab people land.Israel has the to that land.

by: Scott from: USA
December 19, 2012 11:18 PM
The United States should also Join the rest of the world, Israel has gone to far and crossed the red line, They should be punished for this action as they do not seek Peace, We should recall our diplomats and put a emergency halt to all foreign aid going to Israel, maybe this will make them wake up the world dose not owe Israel anything any longer.
In Response

by: EthanP from: USA
December 20, 2012 1:47 PM
Of course Scott, the Palestinians and other Arabs have "constantly" sought peace. We all know Jews deserved those pogroms in the 1920s & 1930s. It was Israel that invaded 6 Arab nations in 1947. Get real and wake up!

by: melvin bretthauer from: las vegas,nv
December 19, 2012 9:04 PM
we borrow money from china and give it to israel. now the world comdemned israel who is in charge of the us? the shadow government of israel
In Response

by: EthanP from: USA
December 20, 2012 1:50 PM
Melvin; I have some suggested reading for you.
"Protocols of the Elders of Zion". Although you sound like you've already read it. And FYI: It's a work of fiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: YaValioCacaWates from: USA
December 19, 2012 8:41 PM
Who really cares what Russia, China, and the EU thinks about the Israeli building settlements for their citizens. I say Israel needs to build a lot more. They condemn settlements, but recommend nuclear bombs in Iran. Go figure? Russia, China, and the EU needs to be concerned about all their homeless citizens and leave Israel alone.

by: James from: Sumter, SC
December 19, 2012 8:36 PM
When will the U.S. government realize that there is absolutely no benefit to aligning itself with Israel and that Israel is as much a terrorist nation as those around it? I suspect this has more to do with the supposed origins of the Bible than anything other words, if it allows Israel to fail, part of its identity goes along with it...rubbish!

by: OldNassau from: Florida, USA
December 19, 2012 8:35 PM
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: The USA condemns Russia for its support of Syria; Russia condemns the US for its unqualified of Israel.

December 19, 2012 8:21 PM
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) seems intent on blocking Obama -- from paying the bills -- Republicans left behind … fighting Israel’s ongoing holy wars. As long as NATO will provide soldiers and the U.S. provides the money … Israel pushes this arrogant “better than thou bulls#@&!” People don’t accept this chosen crap any longer!
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