23 March 2018

U.N. council to vote on end to Israeli settlements

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The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on a draft resolution that would demand that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

Egypt circulated the draft on Wednesday evening and the 15-member council is due to vote at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday, diplomats said. They said it was unclear how the United States, which has protected Israel from U.N. action, would vote.

The White House declined to comment. Some council diplomats hope President Barack Obama, who has had a rocky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, may allow Security Council action by abstaining on the vote.

In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu said the United States "should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday." The tweet gave no indication whether Israel had been informed of how Washington planned to vote.

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

U.N. diplomats see the resolution as a final chance for council action on the Middle East before Republican President-elect Donald Trump succeeds Democrat Obama on Jan. 20. Trump has signaled he would support Israel in a number of critical areas and not pressure it to engage in talks with the Palestinians.

Obama's administration has been highly critical of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. U.S. officials said this month, however, that Obama was not expected to make major moves on Israeli-Palestinian peace before leaving office.

In 2011, the United States vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington. The United States says continued Israeli settlement activity lacks legitimacy.

2016.12.22 / 09:12
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