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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a difference an election makes

Having taken a shellacking in the midterm elections, the Obama administration has come out in opposition to the idea of bringing the issue of 'settlement construction' before the UN Security Council.
“We have consistently opposed taking these kinds of issues to the UN Security Council,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing, though he declined to specify whether the US would actually veto a resolution should it be voted on.

Toner emphasized that “final status issues can only be resolved” through direct negotiations rather than a UN vote, a long-standing US position.

However, he also reiterated America’s continued opposition to Israeli settlements.

“We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” Toner stated, labeling such continued construction “corrosive to our peace efforts” as well as Israel’s future.

The draft resolution prepared by the Palestinian Authority will ask the UN Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal and call for a full freeze in their construction.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft on Wednesday. It calls settlements a "major obstacle to the achievement of peace." It does not, however, call for sanctions against Israel, and urges both sides to continue negotiations toward a final peace agreement.

The draft resolution reaffirms Palestinian claims that "Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace..."

Additionally, the document demands that Israel "immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard..."

It also calls for an "intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
So the US may not veto the resolution, but if they don't, it will be nothing more than an embarrassment.

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At 2:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yup. With a GOP House holding the purse strings, there are going to be limits to what the State Department can get away with. An election really does make a difference.


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