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Palestinians to seek condemnation of Israel’s settlement activity at UN council meeting; will U.S. veto the move?

Israel’s UN ambassador urges council members to condemn Palestinian terror

Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, Apr. 25, 2022. (Photo: Mark Garten/UN)

The relationship between the United States and Israel could be facing a test next week, when the United Nations Security Council holds its monthly meeting: “The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question.” 

The Palestinian Authority is working behind the scenes, trying to convince members of the council to condemn Israel for its recent decision to expand West Bank settlements, either in a resolution or an official statement. Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour sent a letter to member states in that regard.

Should an anti-Israel resolution be presented for a vote by the council, the U.S. will likely be compelled to decide whether to use its veto power to torpedo it. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have done this many times in the past in support of the Jewish state.

However, in an exceptional decision by former U.S. President Barack Obama, before departing office in 2016, the U.S. surprised Israel when it chose not to use its veto power on Resolution 2334, which stated that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.” Moreover, Israeli officials later alleged that the Obama administration worked behind the scenes to pass the resolution.

That was also the last time a right-wing government in Jerusalem, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, encountered significant consequences from a Democratic administration in Washington for expanding Israel’s presence in the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s Security Cabinet pledged on Sunday to authorize the construction of 10,000 housing units in West Bank settlements and retroactively legalize nine outposts in response to a recent wave of deadly terror attacks.

“The appropriate answer to terrorism is to strike it hard and deepen our roots in our country even more,” said Netanyahu.

The decision has drawn sharp criticism from the Biden administration, even though it came without ultimatums or warnings, at least not publicly.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “deeply troubled” and signed a joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom on Tuesday, expressing opposition to “unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

“Anything that takes us away from the vision of two states for two peoples is detrimental to Israel’s long-term security, its identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and to our vision of equal measures of security, freedom, prosperity, and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Blinken said in a statement issued on Monday.  

Meanwhile, Israel is also preparing for the upcoming UN Security Council meeting. Israel Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan sent an urgent letter to member states on Tuesday, urging the international community to condemn “in the strongest and unequivocal terms,” the recent Palestinian terror attacks that left 11 Israelis murdered, including children.

“Overall, 11 Israelis were murdered in these bloody and brutal attacks and dozens were injured, some in critical condition,” Erdan said. “Those abhorrent crimes are being encouraged and applauded by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terror groups.”

Israel’s UN ambassador also rebuked the PA President Mahmoud Abbas for his refusal to condemn the horrific attacks and the incitement that led to them.

“This serves as the clearest example of who is behind this wave of escalation and violence. As long as the international community does not demand accountability from the PA and its leadership, as well as a complete halt to incitement and indoctrination for violence – the prime motivators of future attacks – Palestinian attempts to inflict maim and murder Israeli civilians will continue,” Erdan added. 

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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