Israeli officials vowed on Monday to build thousands of new settlement homes on occupied Palestinian land, in defiance of a United Nations resolution passed Friday condemning such construction as a "flagrant violation under international law." The plans violate Security Council Resolution 2334, which was approved Friday on a 14-0 vote after the United States abstained, denying a veto sought by Israel and President-elect Donald Trump.
Saeb Erekat: "We hope that this clear message to the Israeli people is that they must accept the international community’s call to stop settlement activities, to stop the occupation. Occupation and settlements provide no peace and no security. And the only way to peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians is through a negotiated settlement to achieve the two-state solution on the 1967 lines—a state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live side by side the state of Israel in peace and security on the 1967 lines."
The resolution does not provide for any sanctions against Israel for failing to halt settlement construction. It was introduced on Friday by Malaysia, Senegal, Venezuela and New Zealand, one day after Egypt withdrew the measure under intense pressure from Israeli officials and from Donald Trump. Its passage infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who summoned and reprimanded envoys from most of the Security Council member nations who approved the resolution. Netanyahu also lashed out at President Obama.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council. I’m encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this U.N. resolution was. They understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory. I look forward to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month."
The Obama administration previously sided with Israel at the U.N., vetoing a similar Security Council resolution in 2011 that would have condemned Israeli settlement building. The U.S.'s abstention in Friday's vote drew criticism from many Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Incoming Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York called the move "extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding." Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina threatened to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations. We’ll have more on Israeli settlements and the vote at the United Nations after headlines.