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Israeli settlements leave US odd man out at UN
Published Thursday 20/12/2012 (updated) 21/12/2012 23:11
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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- In a rare move on Wednesday, all but one of the 15 members of the UN Security Council made statements at the United Nations opposing Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements around Jerusalem after the United States repeatedly blocked attempts to take stronger action.

India's UN ambassador, Hardeep Singh Puri, described the four separate statements -- made by the eight council members from the Non-Aligned Movement, the four European members, Russia and China -- as a "Plan B" after it was clear the United States, was likely to veto a legally binding resolution on the issue.

"Consultations (on a resolution) were held amongst the members of the council and an attempt was made ... (to see) if the 15th member could be accommodated," said Puri, referring to the United States.

"But when we came to the conclusion that that was not likely to happen ... it was felt that Plan B - which is what this is essentially - was for members of the council to come out individually and in groupings to make statements," he said.

All the statements were made at UN headquarters after a Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East. While the United States has also condemned Israel's plans, it did not make a statement at the United Nations.

The United States -- traditionally Israel's protector on the Security Council -- blocked a resolution in February last year condemning Israeli settlements. Any of the five permanent members of the council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- can veto a resolution.

When asked about the planned statements by Security Council members at the United Nations, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that "each country ought to make its own representations ... and that's the way we've proceeded."

The Security Council resumed talks on a resolution condemning settlements after Israel said last month it would build 3,000 more homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- areas Palestinians want for a future state, along with Gaza.

But it became apparent that the United States was unwilling to support a resolution, diplomats said.

Approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israeli announcement came a day after the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the world body to "non-member state" - a de facto UN recognition of statehood.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday his government would press ahead with expanding Jewish settlements around Jerusalem, despite Western criticism.

Speaking in Washington, Nuland said the United States said it was "deeply disappointed" by the plan and said it put the goal of a two-state solution at risk."

'Fatal blow'

The current European members of the Security Council -- permanent members Britain and France, as well as Germany and Portugal -- said Israel's announcement of an acceleration of settlement construction was "undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate."

Diplomats made clear that the issuance of the statements were targeted as much at the United States as they were at Israel and the Palestinians for a lack of progress towards a peace plan.

"We're making clear to both parties and the US that the window of opportunity (for peace) is closing," said a senior Western diplomat.

The Non-Aligned Movement caucus of the Security Council -- Togo, South Africa, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Guatemala, Colombia and Azerbaijan -- expressed grave concern at the "continuing illegal Israeli settlement activities," which it said breached international humanitarian law.

Russia and China also separately said they were concerned by the settlement plans. All the statements on the issue were made outside the Security Council on Wednesday.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council on Wednesday that settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violated international law.

"If implemented, these plans would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution," Feltman said. "We strongly urge the Israeli government to heed the wide international calls to rescind these plans."

Israeli analysts see the settlement drive as an effort by Netanyahu to enhance support for his right-wing Likud party against other hawkish rivals in a Jan. 22 parliamentary election he is expected to win.

Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor questioned why the Security Council should single out the settlements' dispute all the other events going on in the Middle East this week, including a bombing in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria and the explosion of a Hezbollah warehouse in Lebanon.
1 ) shirley / australia
20/12/2012 11:27
there you have it US does not give adamm as expected and EU cunning statements blaming palestiniansouragous this is EU plan to undermine Palestinians and slowly shift blame back onto them WAKE UP and they know full well US call them in anytime as most abstained on the vote ABBASS needs to strenghthen pal position and again REUTERS which is azionist Newspaper callingthe satte of palestine afuture state iT IS ALREADY A STATE GET IT REUTERS AND MAAN NEWS FOR NOT EDITING THIS BLATANT PROPAGANDA

2 ) Giacomo / USA
20/12/2012 13:48
Conveniently, you omitted this part of the EU statement: "The parties must engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions in order to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all claims." The EU and the US implicitly understand that only negotiations will bring peace to the ME. End your wakseh and unify if you can, then negotiate, without preconditions, a sustainable peace agreement. Everything else is just rhetoric.

3 ) Tobias / USA
20/12/2012 14:14
Despite Palestinian claims, "settlement construction is only undermining their
faith in Israel's willingness to" surrender to their demands for a 100% freeze,
and likely their demand for using 1967 borders, as the baseline for land swaps,
BUT NOT "Israel's willingness to" negotiate," without Preconditions !!

4 ) Mel / USA
20/12/2012 16:44
It's only symptomatic of a poisonous 'pudding'the West's eaten(reluctantly)for decades anyway i.e. that USG,UKG,Euro,Arab ties with mendacious Zionism are destructive,regressive&unsustainable.Zionist Israel is MORE globally&politically isolated,even from global Jewry,than ever B4! The"special-bond"our USG has,is a global&economic liability to our US NatSec.,image,integrity &,we are judged by the"company we keep".USG has to rethink its broader options.And Israel has to DIVEST from Nazi Zionism!

5 ) Sam / Holland
20/12/2012 18:48
ARGUMENT of Israel: Palestinians and Hamas want to destroy Israel. THE REALITY IS: Israel is destroying Palestina as a cancer slowely eating it from inside. See http://goo.gl/Cbh48

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
20/12/2012 21:59
Our support for Israel is both a cause and a symptom of our decline as a nation -- both morally and actually. ...not much news there. We're the guy in about twelve feet of water, struggling to reach shore. Israel -- among other things -- is the ball and chain attached to our ankle.

7 ) Ralph Haglund / Sweden
20/12/2012 23:32
Arafat got the Nobel Prize signing that Israel has full control over area C until negotiated peace - so conveniently forgotten by all except USA! USA well knows it is not "illegal" for Jews to build in C, only that they do not like it. Obama invented the idea that it should be a problem for negotiations, it was never before. Everyone knows that ?242 mentions defensible borders, everyone knows that all Arabs in 1948 told the armistice line was NOT any political borders!

8 ) Paul to Colin Wright / USA
21/12/2012 01:09
Colin Wright is right. What has always boggled my mind is so called Christians in US & other english speaking nations that back this move of Jesus Christ rejecting Israel. According to Christianity, it says in I John 2:22 A liar is he that denies that Jesus is the Christ. And then II John verses 7-11 anyone who assists these liars partakes of his evil deeds. Well duh!!! Why do they back antichrist Israel. Not only do they do that but say anyone is wrong that does not!?

9 ) Doaft / Canada
21/12/2012 01:15
The Israeli claim to offer negotiations without pre-conditions does not ring true with the Likud and other Parties charter that will not accept a sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River. Whats left to negotiate?

10 ) gabi / australia
21/12/2012 02:24
Tobias - I've said it before but will say it again because you obviously haven't checked what I said. Israel does have pre-conditions, immutable ones. Look at the Likud charter - no Pal. state, Israel's borders end at the Jordan, no shared Jerusalem, settlements will continue. Read it. That's what it says. And that is Netanyahu's party platform. So no more talk of pre-conditions as if it is only Palestinian demands, which, really, are merely what International law demands. Get it????

11 ) Mo / Canada
21/12/2012 11:30
Russia and China are good and ready to criticize Israel building some properties on disputed land, but don't see any problem with Syria murdering its own people.

12 ) Tobias / USA
21/12/2012 15:17
Doing THE RIGHT THING, like the USA,
instead of the easy thing, like the EU,
often leave people as "The Odd Man Out"

13 ) Mel / USA
21/12/2012 16:09
"Victoria Nuland said that "each country ought to make its own representations ... and that's the way we've proceeded."??Now remember,when you hear Nuland's words,that she's married to Robert Kagan,one of the Zionist,co-founders(with William Kristol)of the mid-1990's PNAC!!Private,ideological CEO/war-lords,who pushed for"regime change"(coup)in Iraq(2003)& 'regime change'(Zionist-compliant)in Syria&Iran by covert/overt(coup or occupation)means!These leeches feed on rule-of-lawLESS!

14 ) Mel / USA
21/12/2012 19:13
This talks about an award-winning film,out on DVD,on S/African colonial apartheid,comparisons to/relationship with S/Africa &Israel & their similar policies of land-resource-economic-theft,segregation,enclavement,colonial token power for indigenous puppets(1970-80's)enabling racism,evading global sanctions for weapons/military trade & nuclear technology to S/A etc.I'm giving 10 copies as Christmas gifts! Knowledge is POWER 2 BDS! http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/21/as_the_anc_votes_to_support

15 ) downtown dave / USA
22/12/2012 06:13
The window of opportunity for peace has closed. With the world body determined to divide up the land of Israel, all we have to look forward to is the judgement of God. http://483years.blogspot.com/
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