Israeli settlements ‘impede peace’: UN Security Council

In a statement released on Monday, the UN Security Council warned that the Israeli hard-right government’s plans to retroactively legalize settlements in occupied Palestinian territory “impede peace” and voiced its “dismay” with them.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution,” the Council said in a statement supported by all 15 members but which does not have the binding force of a resolution considered last week.

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The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the proclamation disregarded the “historic” rights of the Jewish people. Israel quickly retaliated against the declaration.

“The UN Security Council has issued a one-sided statement which denies the rights of Jews to live in our historic homeland,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

It went on to argue that the UN statement “should never have been made” and that “the United States should never have joined it” because it “fails to acknowledge the Palestinian terror assaults” that had recently resulted in the deaths of Israelis.

The earlier draft resolution, proposed by the United Arab Emirates, had called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease” settlement activities in occupied Palestinian areas.

A draft condemning “all attempts at annexation, including decisions and measures by Israel regarding settlements, including settlement outposts,” according to diplomatic sources, was dropped and will be replaced by a new statement from the president of the Security Council, sources told AFP on Monday.

The demand “that Israel promptly and fully cease all settlement operations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem,” has also been underlined in the proposed resolution.

The United States, which has a veto power in the Council, objected to the initiative.

The White House expressed its “deep dismay” over the proposals.

Washington had also condemned the Israeli security cabinet’s announcement a few days earlier that nine settlements in the occupied West Bank had been given legal status.

The Council “strongly opposes all unilateral measures that obstruct peace, including, among other things, Israeli construction and expansion of settlements, confiscation of Palestinian land, and the ‘legalization’ of settlement outposts, demolition of Palestinian homes, and displacement of Palestinian civilians,” according to the new statement released on Monday.

When asked if the new proclamation was a letdown, the Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, emphasized that the Security Council had adopted it unanimously.

“We have a united front,” he said. “To isolate one side is a step in the right direction. We are fast approaching a breaking point that no one should care to explore.”

He said the message needed to be “translated into a time-bound action plan at concerted effort by the UN and its member states to set us on a different path. One that leads to freedom, justice and peace.”

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