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Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end

December 23, 2016 3:06 pm

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution urging an end to illegal Israeli settlements after the US refused to veto it, instead abstaining.

The motion was passed with 14 votes in favour and one abstention.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution had been withdrawn after Israel asked Donald Trump to intervene but it was proposed again by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela.

The US has traditionally sheltered Israel from condemnatory resolutions.

The issue of Jewish settlements is one of the most contentious between Israel and the Palestinians, who see them as an obstacle to peace.

About 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said the resolution reflected the “facts on the ground” that settlement growth had been accelerating.

“The settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is threatening the two-state solution,” she said.

She criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for settlement expansion, saying: “One cannot simultaneously champion expanding settlements and champion a two-state solution that would end the conflict.”

However, Ms Power added that the US had not voted in favour of the resolution because it was “too narrowly focused” on settlements.

She added that even if all settlements were dismantled, both sides would still have to acknowledge “uncomfortable truths” and make “difficult choices” to reach peace.