UN Security Council Rejects U.S. Policy Shift On Israeli Settlements

By Janet Ekstract

UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – On Wednesday, every member of the United Nations Security Council with the exception of the U.S. – rejected the Trump administration’s move to legitimize Israeli settlements, labeling the decision as a violation of international law.

The Security Council held its monthly meeting on the Middle East just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the administration’s decision, reversing 41 years of U.S. policy, based on the 1978 State Department legal opinion that the Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory violate international law.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said: “Unilateral moves fuel anger and disillusionment and significantly undermine the prospects for establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”

A total of 14 of the 15 countries at the UN Security Council, rejected the U.S. decision and so far, the U.S. insists on supporting it’s decision despite backlash from EU nations and the Palestinian Authority who condemned the decision saying the U.S. has lost all credibility and will have no future role in the Middle East peace process.

A deputy U.S. ambassor to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet said the U.S. remains committed to peace and commented: “The U.S. government is expressing no view on the particular legal status of any individual settlement, nor are we addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank, that is for Israelis and Palestinians to decide.”

Mladenov made it clear at the meeting that according to the UN resolution in December 2016, that the U.S. move not to find the settlements illegal is as he put it “a flagrant violation under international law.”

The UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland had released a joint statement prior to the meeting that calls on Israel “to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.” The statement added that such activity “erodes the violation of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”

Meanwhile, Israel ‘s UN ambassador Danny Danon said the U.S. decision “rights a historical wrong,” while Chief Palestinian delegate at the UN, Riyad Mansour sharply criticized the move in his comments: “another illegal announcement on Israeli settlements in order to sabotage any chance to achieve peace, security and stability.”

Political analysts point out Trump’s numerous pro-Israeli policy moves which are viewed as a plus for his evangelical Christian voter base as well as the more conservative and ultra-orthodox Jewish constituents.

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