With tension as they are between Obama & Netanyahu, Israel fears the POTUS will not veto the Palestinian’s resolution calling for settlement construction in Judea, Samaria & Jerusalem to stop while also condemning “settler violence.”
The Palestinian Authority this week began distributing a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and demanding that it be ended, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeks to bring the resolution to a vote when he visits UN headquarters in about two weeks, according to Haaretz. The Palestinian Authority reportedly approached council member states to gauge potential support, including France, Spain, and Egypt.
The Security Council has not voted on a proposed resolution regarding the settlements since February 2011, when the Palestinians got the support of 14 out of 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The United States exerted its veto powers.
Diplomats from two unnamed Security Council member states told Haaretz that the draft resolution’s language is relatively moderate and similar to the one brought to a vote five years ago. The draft resolution reportedly calls the settlements an obstacle to peace and calls for construction to cease. One diplomat said that a new clause condemns settler violence against Palestinians.
A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that the PA wants a vote on a version that does not meet all Palestinian demands, but is more palatable to the international community in the hopes of softening opposition.
The official suggested that given multiple American attempts over the past five years to make progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, combined with the expansion of the settlement enterprise, the US may no longer wish to veto a resolution. He further said that the timing is related to presidential elections in the US, as a vote too close to elections might increase pressure on President Barack Obama to impose a veto in order to avoid backlash towards the Democratic nominee if he does not.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed reports of the draft resolution, saying that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was taking a step that would only make negotiations more remote and that Palestinians teach their children that Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Acre are settlements.
Netanyahu said in February that a resolution condemning the settlements could result in the imposition of international sanctions on Israel.
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