UN presidential statement notes ‘concern’ over Israel settlement plans

Statement issued in lieu of resolution vote condemning occupation crimes

Antony Blinken twitter
(Photo: Twitter)
AMMAN — A presidential statement issued by the UN Security Council on Monday expressed "deep concern and dismay" with Israel's plans to legalize its West Bank outposts and dramatically expand settlement construction, according to Haaretz.اضافة اعلان

The statement is in place of a UN resolution, which Palestinian officials had been urging but US officials averted via mediation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently held discussions on the situation with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, whose country was behind the planned resolution, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The discussions culminated in a deal on Sunday to forego the resolution in favor of the presidential statement, which is weaker and not legally binding, according to multiple diplomats familiar with the situation.

Suspending unilateral actionsTo avoid a vote on the draft resolution, the diplomats said the US convinced both Israeli and Palestinian sides to agree in principle to a six-month freeze of all unilateral actions.

On the Israeli side, that means a commitment to not expanding settlements until at least August, according to the diplomats. On Monday, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel would not approve any new settlements in the West Bank beyond nine outposts that it had approved retroactively earlier this month.
"We consider this to be a green light for continuing the violations and crimes of the occupation against our land, our people, and our sanctities."
On the Palestinian side, the diplomats said the freeze means a commitment until August not to pursue action against Israel through the UN or other international bodies such as the World Court, the International Criminal Court, and the UN Human Rights Council.

The text of the statementThe presidential statement reiterates the international community's decision that "continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines." It further notes that all parties must meet their international obligations and commitments, while strongly underscoring its opposition to unilateral measures including home demolitions and civilian displacement.

The statement also denounces all acts of violence against civilians, including terrorism, calling on all parties to condemn and hold accountable those responsible for violence against civilians.

The Security Council additionally called for all parties to refrain from provocation aimed at deescalating the situation on the ground, highlighting the need to maintain the status quo of Al Aqsa Mosque, while issuing concerns about religious-based discrimination and both parties' obligation to protect civilian and humanitarian workers under international humanitarian law.

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the “one-sided statement”, saying it “denies the rights of Jews to live in our historic homeland” and protesting that the US should never have backed it.

Response from HamasOn Monday, Hamas criticized the issuance of the statement in the place of a resolution condemning the settlement policies and crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people, according to news outlets.

In a press release, the movement expressed that the move allows the Security Council to avoid assuming its responsibilities under international norms.

"We consider this to be a green light for continuing the violations and crimes of the occupation against our land, our people, and our sanctities," the press release said.

The movement specifically called on the international community and the Security Council to take practical and deterrent action against the occupation and its settlement policies, “not just to voice its concerns, which has never served to effectively end settlement activity”. 

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