UN resolution draft demanding settlement halt submitted

Matter brought to Security Council by Lebanon despite explicit US opposition; Israel says move diverts sides from reaching peace.

UNSC 311 (photo credit: AP)
UNSC 311
(photo credit: AP)
NEW YORK – A proposed resolution put forward by Lebanon at Wednesday’s UN Security Council meeting condemns Israel’s settlement activity and demands that it “immediately and completely” cease all settlement activities “in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
The draft resolution, sponsored by 120 countries, was introduced to place the issue before the Security Council’s jurisdiction. However, it was not brought to a vote.
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Sources said the proposal was brought to the table in order to show the Palestinians’ and Lebanese’ seriousness of intent on the issue of settlements, but with the idea that the resolution would not be brought to a vote until next month at the earliest.
It condemns “the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” as well as “all other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
The matter was brought to the Security Council despite the opposition of the United States. America’s representatives have repeatedly asserted their belief that the Security Council is not the proper forum for discussions of the peace process, and that bringing the matter up would not be a “productive step.”
“These are complex issues, and we think they’re best resolved through direct negotiations, not through the unilateral declarations, even if those unilateral declarations come in the form of a multilateral setting,” State Department spokesman Phillip J. Crowley said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Crowley declined to speculate as to whether the US would veto such a resolution were it to come to a vote in the Security Council.
In her remarks to the council on Wednesday, Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, the deputy US permanent representative to the UN, did not use the word “veto,” but spoke out in strong terms against the proposed resolution.
“As we have consistently said, permanent-status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties – and not by recourse to the Security Council,” DiCarlo said. “We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council and will continue to do so, because such action moves us no closer to the goal of a negotiated final settlement. Rather, we believe it would only complicate efforts to achieve that goal.”
DiCarlo noted that Quartet principals are scheduled to meet in Munich on February 5.
“The United Kingdom has always been clear that settlements are illegal as well as being an obstacle to peace,” British Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant said in his statement to the Security Council. “Pushing ahead with settlement activity is a deeply unhelpful move. With actions such as these, it is no surprise that this council has been asked to consider a resolution condemning settlement activity.”
Representatives from other countries expressed support for the resolution at Wednesday’s Security Council meeting.
“Such a measure would send the right signal to the parties that the international community is serious in its attempt to help ensure the long-term feasibility of the two-state solution,” Brazil’s UN Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti said.