UN Security Council to discuss 'settlements'

UN Security Council to hold special meeting on Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. It will not include a vote.

Ben Ariel,

United Nations Headquarters
United Nations Headquarters
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The UN Security Council will hold a special meeting next week on Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Haaretz reported Thursday.

The Arria Formula meeting will not involve a vote and is expected to be open to the media, according to the newspaper. Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem fear it will turn into an international demonstration of condemnation of the Israeli government’s policy and set the stage for an “anti-settlement resolution” in the Security Council after the upcoming U.S. elections.

The meeting will be held on October 14 at the behest of Egypt, Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal and Angola, with a push from the Palestinians.

Arria Formula meetings allow all council members to initiate debates on subjects of specific interest to them. While attendance is not mandatory, Jerusalem officials told Haaretz they believe all Security Council members will attend the meeting, stressing that the Palestinians and the host nations succeeded in exceptional fashion to open the session to the press.

The officials said they fear that in the wake of this week’s U.S. condemnation of the decision to build homes in Shilo for the residents of Amona who are to be evicted from their homes, Security Council members will level particularly harsh criticism.

The officials also fear the atmosphere from the informal meeting could affect the Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East on October 28, according to Haaretz.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has several times initiated unilateral resolutions at the UN Security Council which seek to condemn Israel over its construction in Judea and Samaria and force a peace settlement on the Jewish state.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly last month that the PA would renew its efforts to pass a Security Council resolution declaring “settlements” illegal. Arab UN ambassadors met in New York on Wednesday to discuss possible articles for a resolution, though Arab states have not reached a consensus on a draft resolution, according to the Haaretz report.

Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats believe the Palestinians are unlikely to push seriously for a Security Council resolution until after the November 8 U.S. election. There have been concerns that President Barack Obama, freed of re-election concerns, will advance Security Council resolutions on Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria or break with American protocol and refrain from vetoing such a resolution.

Several weeks ago, a group of 88 senators urged Obama to maintain the long-standing U.S. policy of vetoing one-sided UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian Arab issue.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on Thursday night released a statement in which he strongly condemned the plans to convene the UN meeting.

“The Palestinians are attempting to use the international community to harm Israel instead of putting an end to the hateful incitement and returning to the negotiating table,” said Ambassador Danon, adding, “This diplomatic terrorism is aimed at the communities of Judea and Samaria.”

“The Palestinian leadership is again rejecting our calls for direct negotiations and is once more turning instead to the UN. This latest attempt will not improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians and it should be summarily dismissed by the international community,” Ambassador Danon stated.

“Only a complete end to Palestinian terror and violence can lead to a real dialogue between our peoples,” the Ambassador concluded.




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