News / Middle East

US Vetoes UN Resolution on Illegality of Israeli Settlements

Ambassador Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, speaks at the Twitter office in San Francisco, February 10, 2011 (file photo)
Ambassador Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, speaks at the Twitter office in San Francisco, February 10, 2011 (file photo)
Margaret Besheer

The Obama administration has cast its first veto in the U.N. Security Council, killing a resolution that would have declared Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands illegal. The administration was under intense domestic political pressure to support Israel.

The final vote was 14 in favor, one against. But that one was the United States, a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told the council after the vote that her government is "deeply committed" to pursuing a comprehensive and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians with a two-state solution.

"Our opposition to the resolution before this council today should therefore not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity. On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace."

The text of the failed resolution reaffirmed that Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to peace. The resolution also sought to demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in Palestinian areas.

More than 120 countries co-sponsored the document, which was first circulated several weeks ago.

At first, diplomats said, the Americans would not even discuss the text of the draft. But as the Arabs moved towards pushing for a vote earlier this week, the U.S. ambassador summoned the Palestinians and some Arab envoys to offer a compromise that included a non-binding statement from the council rejecting the legitimacy of settlement activity but stopping short of calling for it to stop. Ambassador Rice referred to this offer in the council.

"In recent days, we offered a constructive alternative course forward that we believe would have allowed the council to act unanimously to support the pursuit of peace. We regret that this effort was not successful and thus is no longer viable."

In Washington, though, members of Congress issued strong statements in the lead-up to the vote urging the Obama administration to firmly support Israel and not make a "major concession to the enemies of the Jewish State and other free democracies."

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said it was unfortunate that the council failed to uphold its responsibilities to hold Israel to its international obligations.

"The proper message that should have been sent by the Security Council to Israel, the occupying power, is that its contempt of international law and the international community will no longer be tolerated," said Mansour. "We fear, however, that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity. This must be remedied."

But Israel’s ambassador, Meron Reuben, said the defeated resolution should never have come before the Security Council in the first place and could ultimately harm the peace process.

"Instead the international community and the Security Council should have called upon the Palestinian leadership in a clear and resolute voice to immediately return to the negotiating table without pre-conditions and to renew direct negotiations in order to resolve all outstanding issues. This is the way to achieve peace," said Reuben.

Peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have been stalled since late last year when a 10-month long Israeli moratorium on most settlement building expired and construction resumed.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More