UN votes on ending Israeli settlements

Egypt withdrew resolution on Thursday, but UN Security Council is voting Friday now after nations revived it.

    Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the Security Council [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]
    Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the Security Council [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]

    The UN Security Council is voting on Friday on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, a day after Egypt withdrew the measure under pressure from Israel and US president-elect Donald Trump.

    New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, who were co-sponsors of the draft resolution, have requested the vote, which diplomats said was to take place at 1900GMT.

    The 15-member council had been due to vote on Thursday and western officials said the United States would allow the draft resolution to be adopted, which would be a major reversal of US practice of protecting Israel from action.

    Egypt: Trump convinced Sisi to withdraw UN resolution

    The US intention to abstain sparked criticism from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had an acrimonious relationship with President Barack Obama.

    Analysis: UNSC vote on Israeli settlements postponed

    Netanyahu and Trump had both called for the United States to veto the draft resolution.

    Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the Republican president-elect spoke with Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the proposed Security Council action on Thursday.

    Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, called on Washington to "stand by" Israel.

    In one of the harshest personal attacks by Netanyahu's government, a senior Israeli official said Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pushed a "shameful" draft anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council.

    The White House declined to comment.

    Trump: US should veto UN Israel settlement resolution

    "President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity.

    "The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel's back."

    He called it "an abandonment of Israel, which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN".

    A senior US official denied Israeli accusations that the United States was behind the effort.

    "Contrary to some claims, the administration was not involved in formulating the resolution, nor have we promoted it," the official told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.   

    Wael Abu Youssef, a senior member of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters news agency that Netanyahu's government "must not be rewarded" by the withdrawal of the draft resolution.

    "We are determined to go to the Security Council to seek a decision against settlements," Abu Youssef said.

    Egypt given ultimatum on Israeli settlements vote

    The draft resolution would demand Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem", and says the establishment of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law".

    A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

    The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem - areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Most countries and the UN view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

    Israel disputes that settlements are illegal and says their final status should be determined in talks on Palestinian statehood. The last round of US-led peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014.

    A senior Israeli official said on Thursday that if another sponsoring country went ahead with the anti-settlement resolution and it won Security Council approval, there was "zero chance" the Israeli government would abide by the measure.

    Broadcasting calls to prayer might get banned in Israel

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency


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