Friday, December 23, 2016

UN Security Council Live Link via Jerusalem Post: 12-23-2016 - VIDEO in link

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Watch-Live-UN-Security-Council-votes-on-anti-settlement-resolution-476193

The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements after four council members again put forward the measure a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump.

New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, who were co-sponsors of the draft resolution, have requested the vote, which diplomats said was likely to take place at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT).

The 15-member council had been due to vote on Thursday afternoon and Western officials said the United States had intended to allow the draft resolution to be adopted, a major reversal of US practice of protecting Israel from action.

New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal told Egypt on Thursday night that if Cairo did not clarify its position, then they reserved the right to "proceed to put it to vote ASAP."

Security Council member Egypt then officially withdrew the text, which it had worked on with the Palestinians, allowing those four countries to call for a vote, diplomats said.

The White House declined to comment. Some council diplomats hope President Barack Obama, who has had a rocky relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, may allow Security Council action by abstaining on the vote.

In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu said the United States "should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday." The tweet gave no indication whether Israel had been informed of how Washington planned to vote.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

UN diplomats see the resolution as a final chance for council action on the Middle East before Republican President-elect Donald Trump succeeds Democrat Obama on Jan. 20. Trump has signaled he would support Israel in a number of critical areas and not pressure it to engage in talks with the Palestinians. The president-elect called on Obama to veto the resolution, stating that the conflict should be resolved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Obama's administration has been highly critical of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. US officials said this month, however, that Obama was not expected to make major moves on Israeli-Palestinian peace before leaving office.

In 2011, the United States vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington. The United States says continued Israeli settlement activity lacks legitimacy.

'DANGEROUSLY IMPERILING'

The draft text to be voted on Friday says the establishment of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law."

It expresses grave concern that continuing settlement activities "are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution."

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Most countries and the United Nations view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

Israel disputes that settlements are illegal and says their final status should be determined in any future talks on Palestinian statehood. The last round of US-led peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014.

Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon called the draft "the peak of hypocrisy" and said: "It is absurd that at a time when thousands are being massacred in Syria, the Security Council is devoting time and energy to convene and discuss condemning the only true democracy in the Middle East."

The draft said the council would "reiterate its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard."

The "Quartet" sponsoring the stalled Middle East peace process - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - said in July that Israel should stop building settlements.

The Quartet report said at least 570,000 Israelis were living in the settlements.

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