US pressures UNSC to abandon vote against Israeli settlement expansion
US succeeds at forestalling UN Security Council resolution to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory."
The Biden administration is trying to avoid a diplomatic crisis with the UNSC over Israeli plans for settlement expansion, in light of a recent draft resolution that would demand "Israel" to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.
According to multiple diplomats familiar with the situation, the US was successful in delaying the resolution proposed by the Palestinians and their supporters.
The UN diplomats said that in order to avoid having to use its veto to block the resolution, Washington has encouraged Palestine and its allies in the UNSC to consider drafting "a more symbolic" joint statement condemning the Israeli cabinet's announcements.
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The UN diplomats said Palestine has rejected the US proposal and is pushing for the draft resolution to be brought to a vote on Monday, noting that talks on the resolution are ongoing, but the text and the timing for the vote could change, as per The Times of "Israel".
The Security Council would likely accept a weaker presidential statement similar to the resolution on Monday, according to the diplomats, rather than a resolution. That said, Presidential statements have become part of the council's record but are not legally binding because they require the support of all 15 council nations.
What would a veto on settlements mean?
During the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, President Joe Biden would face political difficulties if the resolution on settlements is vetoed.
According to diplomats, the efforts against the draft resolution included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Sullivan's deputy Brett McGurk, Middle East top diplomat Barbara Leaf, and special envoy for Palestinian affairs Hady Amr.
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Moreover, the Palestinian push for a resolution comes as the new Israeli right-wing government reaffirmed its commitment to building new settlements in the West Bank, which is further exacerbating the situation in Palestine, as the extremist occupation seems to be bent on changing the status quo in the occupied territories, pushing Palestinians to further defend themselves against Israeli aggression.
It is noteworthy that in December 2016, the UNSC passed a resolution against the Israeli occupation's settlements expansion, 14 out of the council's 15 members voted in favor, while the US, under then-President Barack Obama, abstained.
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