US Prevents Sec. Council Vote on "Ilegal Settlements" Proposal
The UN Security Council debated a proposed resolution on Wednesday, submitted by Lebanon, which calls the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria illegal, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The proposed resolution demands that Israel halt all construction in what is described as “Palestinian territory.” It says that any Jewish communities that were built in the lands occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967, including eastern Jerusalem, “are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
The resolution also calls on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue negotiations and wrap up final issues by September of 2011 as called for by the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers, which consists of the U.S., the UN, the European Union and Russia.
But while PA diplomats taking part in the debate found international support for the resolution, the U.S. strongly opposed bringing the matter up in the UN Security Council and as such the resolution was not brought to a vote.
The Associated Press reported that it is unclear as of yet when a vote on the matter (which would not have passed had it been brought up Wednesday due to the U.S. objections) may be scheduled. Riyad Mansour, the PA’s observer to the UN, suggested it may not be considered for some time.
“If it was up to us, we would love to see the Security Council acting on it immediately,” Mansour was quoted as saying, acknowledging that U.S. opposition would make it difficult.
Explaining her country’s opposition to the resolution, Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN Rosemary A. DiCarlo said that key Middle East peace issues “can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties — and not by recourse to the Security Council. We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council.”
She added that the U.S. remains committed to a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.
Israel did not take part in the debate due to the ongoing labor dispute with the Foreign Ministry’s employees (which also prevented Medvedev's Middle East tour from including Israel). Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev suggested, however, that the proposed resolution was counterproductive.
PA "Breaking Fundamental Commitments"
“The Palestinians have made a series of commitments that all the issues of dispute between us and them should be resolved in direct negotiations,” AP quoted Regev as saying. “By refusing to negotiate, they are breaking their most fundamental commitments to what the process is about.”
US Upgrades PA Status
Wednesday’s debate comes following another PA move which was intended for international recognition. On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department announced to the Palestinian Authority/Palestinian Liberation Organization Mission representative in the United States that its status will be upgraded from a "bureau" to that of a "general delegation." This change will allow the office in which the representation is situated to fly the PLO flag at its entrance.
The PLO's chief representative in the United States, Maen Areikat, said that this step makes the PLO's status in the United States equivalent to its status in Canada and many western European countries.