Israel to face new condemnation for settlements
United Nations: The Palestinians said that all of the UN Security Council members except the United States will condemn Israel`s recent announcements of new settlement construction which are making a two-state solution more difficult to achieve.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said yesterday the 14 other council members will tell reporters after the council`s monthly Mideast meeting today that continuing settlement activity is illegal and must be stopped.
The United States delivered a rare blunt rebuke to Israel, its top Mideast ally, yesterday for its new settlement construction, but Mansour said the Obama administration won`t approve a Security Council resolution or statement.
He said there is near global unanimity against Israel`s actions, pointing to the 169-6 vote in the General Assembly yesterday on a non-binding resolution condemning settlement activities by Israel and demanding their immediate cessation.
"Unfortunately, one powerful country with veto power does not want the Security Council to act accordingly," Mansour said. "Therefore, the 14 other countries in the Security Council, in their own creative way, will make their position clear, collectively or separately, to the media outside the chamber on Wednesday."
He said the four West European council members Germany, France, Britain and Portugal would issue a statement of condemnation, followed by India speaking on behalf of the Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries, and other council members likely including South Africa, Russia and China.
"Therefore one can say 14 versus 1 is the reality of the Security Council in condemning Israel settlement activity although the one is also condemning," Mansour said.
Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to build thousands of homes in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in response to the UN General Assembly`s decision last month to upgrade the Palestinians` status to a nonmember observer state. On Monday, he said Israel will push forward with plans to build 1,500 apartments in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians` hoped-for capital.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland accused Israel of engaging in a "pattern of provocative action" that runs counter to the government`s commitment to peace. She said settlement activity only puts the goal of peace "further at risk" and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.
Her comments came as the United States grows increasingly frustrated with the Israelis, who continue to announce new settlement activity and take other measures to punish the Palestinians for the UN vote recognising the state of Palestine, despite US calls for restraint.
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