UN Security Council resolution calls for halt to Israeli settlement expansion in West Bank

UAE-drafted resolution warns that settlement activities are 'dangerously imperilling' viability of two-state solution based on 1967 lines

The Israeli settlement of Sde Boaz is one of the nine settlements to be legalised by the Israeli cabinet in the West Bank. EPA
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A UAE-drafted UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory” is expected to be put to a vote on Monday at the Security Council.

The resolution is in response to an announcement by Israel on Sunday that it would be legalising nine Jewish settler outposts in the occupied West Bank. Israel also said it would begin construction on 10,000 new settlement homes in the area.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took office at the end of 2022, said on Sunday that the settlement plans had been made in response to Palestinian violence.

The draft resolution, seen by The National, warns that continuing Israeli settlement activities are “dangerously imperilling” the viability of the two-state solution based on 1967 lines.

In order for the resolution — which was drafted in co-ordination with the Palestinians — to be brought to a vote, it must secure the support of at least nine of the 15 members of the Security Council.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday issued a statement stressing that Washington was “deeply troubled” by Israel's announcement of the new settlement units.

He said Washington opposed any unilateral moves by Israel that would “undermine” efforts to negotiate a two-state solution and that would “only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”.

The US has been protecting Israel at the UN for years by using its veto against nearly all resolutions related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Former US ambassador Dennis Ross, who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama when he was president, told The National that the UAE's drafting of a Security Council resolution calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities” is a reminder that settlement activities are now also likely to have an effect on Abraham Accord signatories.

“I suspect the reason for the joint US, British, French, and German foreign minister statement criticising the Israeli decision … was to head off a [Security Council] resolution by showing this was not a business as usual response,” he said, referencing a document released on Monday.

“President [Joe] Biden's natural instinct is to veto UN Security Council resolutions against Israel.”

In a letter sent to the Security Council about the Israeli cabinet decision, Palestine's UN ambassador Riyad Mansour asked for “immediate action” and stressed the need to “implement all relevant UN resolutions towards bringing a halt to Israel’s aggressions against the Palestinian people”.

In 2016, the Obama administration abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, enabling the measure to pass.

The resolution was approved, with 14 member states voting in favour, none voting against and one abstention.

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Updated: February 17, 2023, 4:32 AM