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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs