News / USA

US Discouraging Palestinian UN Move on Settlements

Gilo, a Jewish settlement on land Israel captured in 1967 and annexed to its Jerusalem municipality, is seen in this general view (File Photo)
Gilo, a Jewish settlement on land Israel captured in 1967 and annexed to its Jerusalem municipality, is seen in this general view (File Photo)

The Obama administration said Tuesday it is actively discouraging an Arab-sponsored move to have Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank condemned and declared illegal by the U.N. Security Council. Such a resolution could be introduced in the council this week.

Officials here are not saying outright that the United States would veto a resolution on settlements.

But they insist that such a move is what one official termed "a bad idea" and that the Obama administration is urging Arab diplomats and Security Council members not to move forward on it.

The proposed resolution, backed by the Palestinians and Arab League, reflects frustration over the stalemate in U.S.-led efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back into direct negotiations on settling the Middle East conflict.

U.S. officials argue that unilateral steps - those taken without Israel’s consent - such as a settlement resolution or recognition of Palestinian statehood only make peace efforts more difficult.

At a news briefing Tuesday, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the "best path forward" is to get the parties to negotiate a framework agreement that resolves the final-status issues of the peace process once and for all.

"We continue to be in conversation with a range of countries on this issue," said  P.J. Crowley. "Our view hasn’t changed. We’ve made that clear in our discussions with the Palestinians and others. We do not think that New York or the U.N. Security Council is the right forum for this issue. And we’ll continue to make that case."

The United States has also deemed unhelpful the recent recognition of Palestinian statehood by a string of Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador.

The Obama administration was able to re-start direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks last September after two-year lapse. But the process broke down after a few weeks with  Israel refusing to extend a ten-month moratorium on most settlement activity.

Palestinians contend that continued settlement-building is rapidly making a viable state for them impossible.

The United States in recent years has refrained from calling the settlements illegal.

But President Obama , in a key policy speech in Cairo in 2009, said the United States "does not accept the legitimacy" of continued settlements, the construction of which he said violates previous agreements, undermines peace efforts, and should stop.

In another development, the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington raised the Palestinian flag for the first time in a ceremony at its downtown office building Tuesday.

State Department Spokesman Crowley said the United States had authorized the action several months ago and it did not change the status of the sub-ambassadorial mission.

The action drew criticism from the new Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

In a written statement, she called it part of a Palestinian scheme to manipulate international acceptance of statehood while refusing to negotiate with Israel or accept its existence as a democratic Jewish state.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs