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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

State Department denies threatening Israel over 'settlement' construction

The State Department has denied reports that it has threatened Israel with non-use of its UN veto if Israel pursues 'settlement' construction.
Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said that while his office was aware of such reports in the press, they were “false.” 
“Our position on settlements is well known and hasn’t changed,” he said. “We convey it regularly to the Israeli Government. I know we don’t generally comment on private conversations, but I’d like to nip that story in the bud. We haven’t issued any kind of ultimatum on this.” 
Toner emphasized that far from issuing any such ultimatum regarding a UN resolution, “there’s not even a resolution out there right now.” 
At a meeting of Israel’s security cabinet on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls by senior ministers for construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank in response to an increase in Palestinian terrorism. 
According to Channel 2, Netanyahu refusal to authorize new construction was due to a purported Obama administration warning that the US wouldn’t necessarily veto a French-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council. 
Washington’s reported threat to not veto the motion at the UN came shortly after a Politico report which said US President Barack Obama had rejected multiple calls by a top Democratic senator that he speak out publicly against a Palestinian statehood resolution at the United Nations. 
Obama’s refusal, the report said, “highlights how wide the gulf between the Obama administration and Israeli government has become.” The rebuff “unfolded in the context of a personal relationship between Obama and Netanyahu that’s become highly toxic, poisoning US-Israeli relations more widely.” 
In March, the administration signaled that it would reevaluate its automatic-veto policy at the UN, after Netanyahu asserted in a pre-election interview that there would be no Palestinian state during his tenure.
Let's just say that I would not put it past this administration to withhold the veto - certainly on a resolution condemning 'settlement' construction, and even on a resolution calling for a 'Palestinian state' and holding out the threat of sanctions under Article VII of the United Nations charter.

It's that bad.

What could go wrong?

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