Netanyahu Urges U.S. to Veto U.N. Resolution

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Reuters) -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on the United States to use its veto at the United Nations to block a draft resolution against the Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

The Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution, proposed by Egypt, on Thursday. It demands a halt to Israeli building activities in Yehudah and Shomron and declares that all existing settlements “have no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation” of international law.

Taking to social media, Netanyahu urged the U.S. to veto the resolution, saying that the U.S. “should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.”

Israel’s far-right and settler leaders have been buoyed by the election of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He has already signalled a possible change in U.S. policy by appointing one his lawyers – a fundraiser for a major Israeli settlement – as Washington’s new ambassador to Israel.

In 2011, the United States vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said on Israeli Army Radio: “In a few hours we will receive the answer from our American friends.”

“I hope very much it will be the same one we received in 2011 when the version was very similar to the one proposed now and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, vetoed it.”

The draft text says the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”.

It expresses grave concern that continuing settlement activities “are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution”.

Danon said nothing would change on the ground if the resolution passes. But he said it could spur Palestinians to seek international sanctions against Israel and impede any return to peace talks that collapsed in 2014.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.