Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) deplore the decision of the United States to veto the draft UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
All 14 other members of the UN Security Council, including the UK, voted for the resolution, which demanded that “Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard.”
The resolution was co-sponsored by over 120 of the UN’s Member States.
The US veto makes a mockery of President Obama’s claims to support freedom and justice in the region and further tarnishes US credibility at what is a critical moment.
The US Ambassador Susan Rice said after the vote, that the US believes: “continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace…” Nevertheless, the US vetoed the resolution, even though it reflected the official US Govt position. The Ambassador gave the unconvincing argument for the veto use by saying the resolution “risked hardening the positions of both sides”.
Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, while on a visit to the region, called the Israeli wall and settlements “clear-cut violations of human rights on a very large scale, which are stifling [Palestinians’] social, cultural and economic prospects and crippling their morale.” The US veto simply serves to turn a blind eye to this reality and the continued expansion of illegal settlements and forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.
The veto clearly had more to do with keeping the US pro-Israeli lobby content and gaining support for the 2012 elections. At a time when people in Middle East are dying for freedom, democracy and more just societies, the US action is appalling and does little to serve its interests in the Middle East or around the World.
The US has clearly shown it cannot be the honest broker to deliver a just peace in the region. The LFPME hopes the European Union and its members states and other countries around the World, take decisive measures to stop the ever-expanding illegal Israeli settlements, uphold international law, and help foster peace, justice and freedom in Palestine and the Middle East.