UN Coun­cil likely to vote on Is­raeli set­tle­ments

Is­rael turned to Trump to ward off res­o­lu­tion

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil was ex­pected to vote later yesterday on demanding Is­rael halt set­tle­ments af­ter four coun­tries agreed to present a draft res­o­lu­tion that was with­drawn by Egypt, diplo­mats said. New Zealand, Malaysia, Sene­gal and Venezuela stepped in af­ter Egypt, un­der pres­sure from US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, de­cided not to move for­ward with its push for a vote at the coun­cil, diplo­mats said. “Most likely, we will have a vote soon,” French Am­bas­sador Fran­cois De­lat­tre told re­porters. Egypt on Thurs­day re­quested that the vote be post­poned a day af­ter it submitted the draft text to the coun­cil, trig­ger­ing im­me­di­ate calls from Is­rael for a US veto to block the mea­sure.

Is­rael asked Trump to in­ter­vene af­ter learn­ing that Wash­ing­ton, in a re­ver­sal of its pol­icy un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, would not veto the res­o­lu­tion, an Is­raeli of­fi­cial said.

“The key goal that we have here is to pre­serve and reaf­firm the two states­o­lu­tion,” said De­lat­tre. “The text that we have does not ex­clu­sively fo­cus on set­tle­ments. It also con­demns the vi­o­lence and ter­ror­ism. It also calls to pre­vent all in­cite­ment from the Pales­tinian side so this is a bal­anced text.” Diplo­mats said the same draft res­o­lu­tion would be submitted to a vote, at the re­quest of the four coun­tries. The draft res­o­lu­tion de­mands that “Is­rael im­me­di­ately and com­pletely cease all set­tle­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing East Jerusalem.” It states that Is­raeli set­tle­ments have “no le­gal va­lid­ity” and are “dan­ger­ously im­per­il­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of the two-state so­lu­tion” that would see an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tine co-ex­ist along­side Is­rael.

Is­raeli set­tle­ments are seen as a ma­jor stum­bling block to peace ef­forts, as they are built on land the Pales­tini­ans see as part of their fu­ture state. The United Na­tions main­tains that set­tle­ments are il­le­gal, but UN of­fi­cials have re­ported a surge in con­struc­tion over the past months.

Is­rael’s prime min­is­ter turned to Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump to help head off a crit­i­cal UN res­o­lu­tion af­ter learn­ing that the White House did not in­tend to veto the mea­sure, an Is­raeli of­fi­cial said yesterday. The ad­mis­sion marked a fi­nal chap­ter in the icy re­la­tions be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama over the last eight years, and sig­naled an era of close ties be­tween Is­rael and the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Egyp­tian-spon­sored res­o­lu­tion had de­manded that Is­rael halt set­tle­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries claimed by the Pales­tini­ans and de­clared that ex­ist­ing set­tle­ments “have no le­gal va­lid­ity.”

But un­der heavy Is­raeli pres­sure, Egypt called off a planned vote in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil hours be­fore it was to take place. In the diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity ahead of the post­pone­ment, both Ne­tanyahu and Trump is­sued nearly iden­ti­cal state­ments urg­ing the US to veto the mea­sure. “Af­ter be­com­ing aware that the ad­min­is­tra­tion would not veto the anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tion, Is­raeli of­fi­cials reached out to Trump’s tran­si­tion team to ask for the pres­i­dent-elect’s help to avert the res­o­lu­tion,” the Is­raeli of­fi­cial said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was dis­cussing be­hind-the-scenes diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity.

On Fri­day, Egypt said its pres­i­dent had re­ceived a call from Trump in which they both agreed to give the in­com­ing US ad­min­is­tra­tion a chance to try and re­solve the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict. The call came hours af­ter Egypt in­def­i­nitely post­poned the UN vote.

A state­ment from the Egyp­tian pres­i­dency said the two men spoke by phone early yesterday and agreed on “the im­por­tance of giv­ing a chance for the new Amer­i­can ad­min­is­tra­tion to deal in a com­pre­hen­sive way with the dif­fer­ent as­pects of the Pales­tinian is­sue with the aim of achiev­ing a com­pre­hen­sive and a fi­nal res­o­lu­tion.” A se­nior Pales­tinian of­fi­cial, speak­ing anony­mously ac­cord­ing to pro­to­col, said Egypt didn’t con­sult with the Pales­tini­ans about de­lay­ing the vote and it was a “com­plete shock” for them. —Agen­cies

BETH­LE­HEM: Is­raeli bor­der po­lice of­fi­cers scuf­fle with Pales­tinian protesters, some are dressed as Santa Claus, dur­ing a protest in front of an Is­raeli check­point, in the West Bank city of Beth­le­hem yesterday.—AP

Is­rael turns to Trump

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