Israel urges US to veto UN resolution on Jewish settlements

Jerusalem, Dec 22 (IANS) Israel on Thursday urged the US to veto a UN Security Council draft resolution that demands an immediate halt to settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

“The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account.

Hours later, President-elect Donald Trump also urged President Barack Obama to exercise the veto.

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” Trump said in a post on Twitter and Facebook.

“As the US has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

The vote, expected on Thursday, would be one of the last chances for President Obama to stop Jews from continued settlement building in territories where the Palestinians seek to build their state.

The draft resolution, sponsored by Egypt, asserts that the settlements “have no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation” of international laws.

It demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast War. About a decade later, right-wing Israelis started to establish settlements on these lands.

The US sees the settlements, which are illegal by the international laws, as an obstacle to peace.

The Palestinians have vowed not to return to the negotiating table unless Israel freezes its settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.