Israel appreciates US veto on "illegal" settlements
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 21:30
Jerusalem: Israel on Saturday "deeply appreciated" the US stands to veto a UN resolution that would have condemned the Jewish state's "illegal" settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The move was backed by the other 14 Security Council members, including India and with nearly 120 co-sponsors has incensed the Palestinians and is likely to anger the Arab world currently under political turmoil.

"Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President Obama to veto the Security Council Resolution", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

Israel was "prepared to pursue negotiations vigorously" and was "eager to get on" with Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the statement said adding, the "decision by the US makes it clear that the only path to such a peace will come through direct negotiations and not through the decisions of international bodies".

The US opposes new Israeli settlements but says taking the issue to the UN will only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.

Palestinian leaders called for a "day of rage" today in the streets of West Bank cities after the US vetoed the resolution.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the Palestinians would take their resolution to the UN General Assembly.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, held a press conference condemning the US stand.

"The American veto is an oppressive decision which disgraces the rights of the Palestinian people and reveals the truth about US support for all of the crimes the Zionist enemy commits in its service," Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said.


First Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 21:30

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