Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags as Israelis carrying Israeli flags walk past in front of the Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- The United States will consider taking its concerns over Israel's settlement activity, or over a general stall in negotiations toward a final-status solution with the Palestinians, to the United Nations Security Council, the State Department said on Thursday.
The Obama administration outlined its stance after several days of confusion over whether the US might or might not consider such a move.
"We understand that there is an early draft that the Palestinians have shared informally in New York," State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, asked by The Jerusalem Post to clarify whether the US would consider voting for or declining to veto a resolution addressing Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank.
"We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution. We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I’m not going to comment on a draft Security Council resolution."
At least two resolutions are currently under the pen related to the decades-old conflict: One being spearheaded by the Palestinian Authority, another by the French government.
The Palestinian draft would have the Security Council state it's opposition to Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank— a position held by each individual permanent member of the Council.
The Paris-led initiative would have the Security Council outline parameters of a two-state solution. Democrats and Republicans alike, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
, oppose this approach and warn that imposing solutions from without would prove counterproductive.
But the White House said last year it was willing to review its policy toward the conflict in the United Nations, and it has yet to explicitly rule out such an approach. Israeli government leadership has not received assurances that the Obama administration would oppose either or both resolutions, The Jerusalem Post learned last month.
Trepidation over the issue has apparently affected negotiations over a new decade-long US defense package to Israel.
Over breakfast with foreign policy reporters on Thursday morning, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan warned
against any "funny" moves at the UN, arguing that such actions would run counter to peace. The US has long supported direct negotiations between the parties.
And also this week, 394 out of 435 House members endorsed a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him not to support or allow action at the Security Council on the matter. The letter reiterates bipartisan support for a two-state solution negotiated between the parties themselves.