UN to vote on resolution against Israeli settlements

Press TV- The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on a resolution on Thursday, demanding that Israel put an immediate end to its settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Egyptian-drafted resolution demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

It says the Israeli settlements are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution”, calling for “affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a message, urging the US to veto the resolution.

“The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Moreover, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called for the draft resolution to be vetoed.

“We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the council,” Danon said in a statement.

Washington has shielded Tel Aviv against such moves at the Security Council on several other occasions in the past, including a similar one in 2011.

On Tuesday, the European Union and the Arab League denounced Israel’s illegal settlement activities, calling for international efforts to end Tel Aviv’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands.

Last month, Israel resumed plans to construct 500 new settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds, after Donald Trump won the US presidential election.

A general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds on March 7, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Settlement expansion has surged under Netanyahu’s government with some 15,000 settlers moving into the West Bank over the past year alone.

Ever since its 1967 occupation and later annexation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds, Israel has been either manifestly or insidiously grabbing Palestinian land by expanding settlements and forcing out Palestinians under various pretexts.

The measures have so far led to the construction of more than 120 illegal settlements occupied by over half a million Israelis in the territories.

The United Nations and most countries regard the settlements to be illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war that year and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is debating a bill to legalize some 4,000 settler units in the West Bank. The UN has condemned the draft legislation as “unequivocally illegal,” saying the move would be in contravention of international law.

Israel’s settlement expansion was among the reasons behind the collapse of talks with Palestinians in 2014.