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.
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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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by: Ed from: Idaho, UDA
December 19, 2012 8:08 PM
While I'm certainly no lover of all things Islamic (look at the recent vaccination worker killings in Pakistan?) ...to me Israeli's are only hurting their own cause and reinforcing age old stereotypes of elitism and greed by refusing to look at the Palestinian side and continuing to expand these settlements.

by: JJM from: Seattle
December 19, 2012 7:52 PM
Looks like Israel needs to diversify... where and how many lobbyists it has. Then the community will have a much more favorable view of these actions...

by: NORM from: South América
December 19, 2012 7:46 PM
US, If I were you I would not be so confident that the rest of the World would support your motion. Either you are subrogated to the Israelian Goverment's(not the Jewish wishes) will to violate whatever is necessary to meet their expansionistic needs are to meet their/your short/long term goals in the the Region, your days are counted when your Faith/Future will be under their control.

by: Mohammad from: New York
December 19, 2012 7:40 PM
Although Israel is building new settlements, that is no reason to condemn Israel. They have a right to build in Israel until the PA and Hamas decide to hold peace negotiations.

by: wbilct from: USA
December 19, 2012 7:10 PM
"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."
This is called lip service. Israel has been building settlements for decades and nothing is done about it.

by: Seth_DeKooters from: Hartford, CT
December 19, 2012 6:50 PM
Americans need to remember that it is the United States government's loan guarantees that finance Jewish settlement and occupation in Palestine, grants of American weapons that protect the so-called "settlers" and monied Israeli lobbyists that establish American foreign policy. The rest of the world should argue loudly for REGIME CHANGE in Amerika.

by: FrankOtheMT from: ny
December 19, 2012 6:48 PM
"with the lone exception of the United States"

And how many people in the United States decide this? I for one stand with the rest of the world.

by: Dick Brandlon from: Seal Beach CA
December 19, 2012 6:48 PM
I don't see why the United States is alone in the world in refusing to recognize the Netayahu government's invasion and near-starvation of an entire people. The present Israeli government, like the Bush bunch in the U.S. is a clear aggressor and should be called on it.
In Response

by: Ben
December 22, 2012 9:34 AM
Recent "Munich agreement" with Pa as the fist step for Israel "legimite liquidation" was not condemned by America.
American hypocrisy in the "settlments" case is the result of Obama`s thrive to return Israel to the 1967 indefendable borders for her peril.
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