Times 2

US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 19 (AFP) - The United States has vetoed an Arab-sponsored UN resolution branding Israeli settlements illegal, prompting angry Palestinians to vow to re-evaluate the entire Middle East peace process.

The Obama administration cast its first veto in the United Nations Security Council on Friday, after intense diplomacy failed to convince Palestinians to accept a non-binding compromise statement condemning Jewish settlement activity.

The row dealt a further blow to Washington's already struggling bid to forge a Palestinian state this year and risked further estranging US ties with Arab leaders already tetchy at its response to unrest sweeping the Middle East.

United States ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks at the Security Council Meeting. AFP

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Washington was “regrettably” blocking the draft resolution and warned Israeli should not interpret the move as backing for settlement building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

But she said the United States -- one of five permanent Security Council members with veto power -- did not believe the United Nations was the best place to seek to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides,” Rice said. “It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.” Later, in a conference call with reporters, Rice added “We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of the continued Israeli settlement activity.”

But Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the US veto was “unfortunate and affects the credibility of the American administration.” As a result, the Palestinians will “re-evaluate the entire process of negotiations” towards peace in the Middle East, he said.

The resolution, sponsored by 130 countries, reaffirmed “that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

It also reiterated “its demand that Israel, the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Washington, although saying it views settlement activity as illegitimate, has stopped short of declaring it “illegal” saying that doing so could add further complications to future final status peace talks.

The Palestinians balked at the US compromise despite intense diplomacy by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The row came at some political as well as diplomatic cost to the administration as it took incoming fire from bi-partisan lawmakers who support Israel for even offering a compromise solution.

Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution but the US veto effectively killed the move. Israel reacted to the veto by calling for a resumption of direct talks with the Palestinians.
And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that “Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President Obama to veto the Security Council resolution.”

“Israel remains committed to pursuing comprehensive peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians,” it said. The last round of peace talks broke down late last year after the expiry of an Israeli settlement building moratorium.

Palestinian leaders say peace talks are impossible with construction taking place which they say undermines the territorial integrity of their future state. The United States has traditionally used its veto power in the Security Council, a body Israel deems as deeply biased, to shield the Jewish state from censure.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other Times 2 Articles
People power explosion in Arab world
US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements
No easy love for Philippine Presidents
Mind-moved bionic arm goes on display in US
Pakistan court reissues warrant on Musharraf
Harry: Make me best man or I'm not coming
Early Britons were cannibals
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Behind every successful man is a woman keeping out of the way
The largest solar flare in four years may damage electrical grids on Earth
Honest cabbie returns $100,000 of jewellery to passenger
A drug to make your hair grow again — and that's the bald truth
Unfair, unclear and a massive backward step for democracy
British PM, deputy clash over referendum
US gunslinger with immunity
Was Davis running Drone programme in Pakistan?
2G Scam: The buck stops at DMK
And free flows the Nile
The bat tle of Bahrain: King Hamad - the Mubarak of the Gulf
Israel could become the scapegoat of Egypt's new democracy
The Arab Revolution deals a blow to 'Project Israel'
Guests were naked at Berlusconi’s bunga bunga
UN urges Cambodia,Thailand ceasefire, but will it happen?
Iraq shelter bombed by US remains frozen in time
Mongolia's 'ninja miners' strike gold


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2011 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution