UN Security Council postpones vote on Israeli settlements

United Nations, Dec 23 (IANS) A UN Security Council session on the issue of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories has been postponed due to last-minute negotiations, diplomats said.

During the session which was scheduled for Thursday, a vote was to have been held on a draft resolution calling for Israel to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, reports Efe.

It is still unclear whether the US would use its veto power to block the measure.

Diplomatic sources told Efe that Egypt, which circulated the draft text, had asked for more time for negotiations and that it was now unclear when the session would take place as a meeting for later today has been ruled out.

The US in 2011 vetoed a resolution demanding Israel immediately halt the settlement activities, but according to diplomatic sources this latest Egypt-led effort had resulted in a proposal that was ambitious from the standpoint of the Palestinians.

The resolution reaffirms that the establishment by Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, has no “legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”.

US President Barack Obama, who will leave the White House on January 20, supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and also has criticized the Israeli settlement policy.

But his successor, Donald Trump who holds a more staunchly pro-Israel position, said: “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

–IANS

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