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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid