World

UN Security Council to Vote on Israeli Settlements

A view shows a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem, December 19, 2011. Credit: Reuters

A view shows a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem, December 19, 2011. Credit: Reuters

United Nations: The UN Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on a draft resolution that would demand that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Egypt circulated the draft on Wednesday evening and the 15-member council is due to vote at 3 pm on Thursday, diplomats said. It was unclear how the US, which has traditionally protected Israel from UN action, would vote.

US officials said this month that President Barack Obama was not expected to make major moves on Israeli-Palestinian peace before leaving office. In 2011, the US vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington.

The draft text to be voted on Thursday says the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Most countries and the UN view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

The draft UN resolution “stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution.”

The ‘quartet’ sponsoring the stalled Middle East peace process – the US, Russia, the EU and the UN – said in July that Israel should stop building settlements.

(Reuters)