US Vetoes UN Resolution On Settlements

The Obama administration on Friday cast its first ever veto in the UN Security Council, blocking a Palestinian-backed draft resolution that denounced Israel’s settlement policy as an illegal obstacle to peace efforts in the Middle East.

The US vote killed a resolution that enjoyed the backing of the 14 other members of the UN Security Council and isolated the United States on a crucial Middle East matter at a time of political upheaval in the region.

The US action also ended an urgent last-minute diplomatic campaign, involving conversations between President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to convince the Palestinians to drop their resolution in favor of a milder statement rebuking Israel for constructing new settlements in seized Arab lands.

US Ambassador Susan Rice said that the US veto should not be seen as an endorsement of Israel’s settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced. But she said adoption of the resolution “risks” undermining US-led efforts to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We reject in the strongest term the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activities,” Rice said after the vote. “For more than four decades Israel’s settlement activities have undermined Israel’s security and eroded hopes of peace and security in the region.”

“This draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides and could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations,” Rice said.

Complete article via Washington Post

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