The United Nations has criticized Israel for its illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. A Security Council statement said Israel’s policies “make peace difficult” and undermine the envisioned two-state solution. It is the first time in six years that the United States has authorized a Security Council reprimand to Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government last week recognized nine new settlements established by Jewish settlers in the West Bank. This has caused discontent among Israel’s opponents, but also allies such as the United States. In recent years, Americans have thwarted resolutions and statements against Israel.
According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the “unilateral” declaration denies the right of Jews to live in their historic homeland. “The statement should not have been made and the United States should not have joined it,” Netanyahu’s office said.
The United Arab Emirates had this week proposed adopting a resolution that would have required Israel to “immediately and completely halt all settlements in Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. Insiders said the resolution went too far for Washington, which has veto power in the Security Council.
The last resolution on Israeli settlements was adopted at the end of 2016. Then, the administration of Barack Obama abstained during the vote. The declaration finally adopted on Monday is not binding, unlike the resolutions.
The fifteen Member States accepted the text. The statement said the UN is “firmly against unilateral measures” such as “the construction, expansion or legalization of settlements and the seizure of Palestinian territory”. The UN also denounces the demolition of Palestinian homes and the displacement of Palestinian civilians.
The White House has previously condemned Israel’s recognition of the nine settlements. On Sunday, a controversial Israeli judicial reform bill also led to a rift between the two countries. The US ambassador called on the government to wait with the plans, but an Israeli minister said he should “mind his own business”.