The United States has vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned "illegal" settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories
The United States has vetoed an overwhelming majority approved UN resolution that would have condemned "illegal" settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories.
The draft resolution had called for the UN Security Council to declare, "Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."
The draft said that Israel -- "the occupying power" -- should immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian land.
The other four Council's veto-wielding members -- China, Russia, Britain and France -- and the 10 elected members -- Brazil, Bosnia, Colombia, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa -- voted in favor of the resolution on Friday. But the U.S., as one of five permanent council members with the power to block any action by the Security Council, struck it down.
This reflects the wide support for the draft resolution which had about 130 co-sponsors, dpa reported.
The US cast two vetoes in 2006 when the council tried to pass Arab-backed resolutions that demanded Israel end its military operations against the Gaza Strip.
Both US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas at length on Thursday in an attempt to sway him, but Abbas rejected a compromise.
PALESTINE ENRAGES, ISRAEL CHEERFUL
The Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, called 'unfortunate' the U.S. veto. "The Security Council failed to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and send a clear and firm message to Israel that it must ... cease all of its violations and its obstruction of the peace process," said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative. "We fear ... that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity," Mansour said.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Saturday that the US use of its veto was "arbitrary and outrageous" and urged an end to Palestinian-Israeli contacts. He said Washington had again shown itself to be "completely biased towards the occupation and this confirms the failure of betting on a peace settlement."
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said on Friday that Washington was "regrettably" opposing the draft resolution. She said that should not be seen by Israel as support for continued settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.
"Israel appreciates the American position, which contributes to the resumption of the diplomatic process, and regrets that the other Security Council members have refrained from making the same contribution," said an Israeli Foreign Ministry representative.
UNSC SHOULD BE RESTRUCTURED
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has lambasted the US for vetoing the resolution. “The resolution was approved by the permanent members of the Security Council (except the US), the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other UN members,” said Mohammad Khazaei late Friday. However, he said, the single “no” vote by the US could annul the unanimous “yes” vote by the other fourteen members. “This US move once again undermined the credibility of the Security Council,” said the top Iranian diplomat.
“It is because of such reasons that Iran suggests the United Nations, especially the Security Council, be restructured,” Khazaee underlined. The top Iranian envoy predicted that the resolution would be passed at the UN General Assembly with an overwhelming majority of votes.