The UN Security Council last week was one vote short of “rendering” all Israeli settlements illegal. The US stood in the way and vetoed the resolution, opting however to agree to the settlement’s “illegitimacy.” Ynet news stated:
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.” She added that the US view is that Israeli settlements lack legitimacy.
The Ambassador continued on to indicate that settlements and other issues ought to be resolved through negotiations. The Jerusalem Post added that:
The resolution risks “undermining US-led efforts to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” Rice said that the settlements have, for “four decades” undermined Israel’s security situation and hindered the peace process in the Middle East.
At the same time the Palestinian official said this veto actually threatens the peace process. Again from Ynet:
The Americans have very clearly demonstrated to Palestinians, to Arab public opinion, and to world public opinion that they are biased to the point of destruction.
If they keep trying to manipulate and water down a resolution to become a statement, and they start selling us used goods again it’s not going to work
Israel’s position on this is that settlements and for that matter the entire peace process is to be through negotiations and not via UN resolutions. A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office reads:
“We seek a solution that will integrate the legitimate Palestinian aspirations with Israeli requirement of security and recognition,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The US decision makes it clear that the only way to peace is through negotiations. We are ready to vigorously advance negotiations and are interested in beginning the process of achieving secure peace and hope that the Palestinians will join the process.”
Was the US Administration trying to play both sides of the aisle? The settlements were always part of the peace negotiations going all the way back to President Carter’s Camp David Accord. For some reason, a non-issue became an ISSUE. I am not willing to speculate here on why this seems to be the case, but the settlements are not only legitimate, they are in fact legal. This can be traced all the way back to the League of Nations’ partitioning of Palestine and the British Mandate. To make the settlements illegal, one would have to make the judgments of The League of Nations in 1922 and the UN in 1947 in establishing a home land for Jews void. For a primer on the settlement issue please see Jewish Virtual Library, Myths and Facts, Settlements.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
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