US joins Security Council condemnation of Israeli settlements, violence from ‘all parties’

“The statement should never have been made, and the United States should never have joined it,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office stated.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a statement strongly opposing Israel’s construction and expansion of settlements Monday.

The vote came after high-stakes negotiations by the Biden administration succeeded in derailing a legally binding resolution that would have demanded a halt to Israeli settlement activity.

The Palestinian-backed draft resolution was the subject of frantic talks by senior Biden administration officials including Secretary of States Antony Blinken with Palestinian, Israeli and United Arab Emirates leaders. Those discussions culminated in a deal Sunday to forego it in favor of a weaker presidential statement that is not legally binding, according to multiple diplomats familiar with the situation.

The deal averted a potential diplomatic crisis, with the U.S. almost certainly vetoing the resolution, which would have angered Palestinian supporters at a time when the U.S. and its Western allies are trying to gain international support against Russia for its war with Ukraine. The war marked its one-year anniversary of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion this week.

To avoid a vote on the draft resolution, the diplomats said the U.S. managed to convince both Israel and the Palestinians to agree in principle to a six-month freeze in any unilateral action they might take.

Read  Israeli minister prepares major sanctions on PA after statehood push

On the Israeli side, that would mean a commitment to not expanding settlements until at least August, according to the diplomats. On Monday, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not greenlight any new wildcat settlements in Judea and Samaria beyond nine outposts that it approved retroactively earlier this month.

On the Palestinian side, the diplomats said it would mean a commitment until August not to pursue action against Israel at the UN and other international bodies such as the World Court, the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,” the council said in the statement. “The Security Council expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on February 12.”

On settlements, the Security Council “strongly opposes all unilateral measures that impede peace including … Israeli construction and expansion of settlements, confiscation of Palestinians’ land, and the `legalization’ of settlement outposts, demolition of Palestinians’ homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians.”

The Council also expressed “deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on Feb. 12, 2023, announcing further construction and expansion of settlements and the `legalization’ of settlement outposts.”

Read  Netanyahu teases 'surprising plans' for war against Hezbollah

The statement condemned all acts of violence against civilians and called “on all parties to observe calm and restraint and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of escalating the situation on the ground.” It did not differentiate between Palestinian terror attacks and IDF counterterrorism raids.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office issued the following statement:

“The UN Security Council has issued a one-sided statement which denies the rights of Jews to live in our historic homeland, fails to mention the Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem in which 10 Israeli civilians were murdered, ignores the Palestinian Authority’s grotesque pay-for-slay policy, which subsidizes the murder of Jews, and belittles the evil of antisemitism, which has resulted in the slaughter of millions.

“The statement should never have been made, and the United States should never have joined it,” the statement added.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told reporters: “The fact that we have a united front … is a step in the right direction.”

UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the council’s Arab representative who sponsored the resolution, commended the U.S. role and said the statement is “the first output from the Security Council in six years on the situation in Palestine.”

Read  IDF probes 'tragic mishap' that killed dozens of Gazans along with 2 top Hamas terrorists

“I think it has a strong unified signal from the council that they want to see de-escalation, dialogue and focus on political parameters to (end) a longstanding conflict,” she said.