The UN Security Council is not expected to vote on a resolution condemning West Bank settlements that was scheduled for Monday after the United Arab Emirates pulled the text.
The UAE is now seeking a consensus statement against Israeli settlement activity that is less controversial.
Palestinian, Israeli diplomats in talks to reach a compromise
“Given the positive talks between the parties, we are now working on a draft PRST [presidential statement] which would garner consensus,” the UAE said in a note it sent to the UNSC on Sunday.
“Accordingly, there will not be a vote on the draft resolution on Monday. Much of the language of the PRST will be drawn from the draft resolution.”
That resolution had been expected to call on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory,” according to a note seen by Reuters.
The UAE, which holds one of the 15 UNSC seats, has taken the lead on the issue on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
The United States, which is a permanent council member, has the ability to veto the resolution or block a presidential statement. Rather than take those steps, the Biden administration had instead sought to sway the PA to back away from any UNSC action.
Walla reported that the US had worked out a deal by which the PA would withdraw the resolution and Israel would delay its advancement of 10,000 settler homes. The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria is expected to meet on Wednesday to advance plans for those homes. That move, plus the security cabinet’s decision to transform 10 West Bank outposts into nine new settlements, had prompted the PA and the UAE to turn to the Security Council.
Israel was not relying on any statements made Sunday and planned to work until the last moment to prevent any UNSC action on Monday, when the council convenes for its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Blinken 'deeply troubled' by Israeli settlement building
The Biden administration is opposed to settlement activity. However, it also operates with the understanding that the UN is biased against Israel, and thus generally blocks any UNSC condemnations of the Jewish state.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Saturday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue and reiterated US support “for a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability,” the State Department said in a statement.
“The secretary underscored the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to take steps that restore calm and our strong opposition to unilateral measures that would further escalate tensions,” the statement reads. “The secretary and prime minister also discussed broader regional challenges, including the threats posed by Iran, and the secretary underscored our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.”
Blinken had spoke earlier with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The State Department said the two discussed efforts to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people and enhance their security and freedom. Blinken also reaffirmed the US commitment “to a negotiated two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability.”
Republican members of Congress called on President Joe Biden to veto any UNSC anti-Israel resolution or statement.
“As the UN Security Council once again moves to consider another one-sided, biased, anti-Israel resolution, it is imperative that the United States maintain its position that only direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians can yield progress,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wrote in a letter to the president that was also signed by Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas wrote, “If the UN Security Council takes action on Monday to punish Israel, President Biden should stand beside them and block the ridiculous, politically-motivated measure.”
Rep. Max Miller, a recently elected Jewish republican from Ohio, wrote, “This resolution is the UN’s latest attack on Israel’s sovereignty. Biden must veto this measure in the Security Council and reaffirm that the United States will always stand beside our ally.”
Reuters contributed to this report.