In a First – US Abstains on UN’s Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem



On the 23rd of Dec 2016, the UN passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Usually the first to provide unconditional support to Israel, the US abstained on the resolution allowing it to pass – leaving the rest of the world dazed.
Although it is not yet clear what the resolution entails and the impact it will have on the Israel-Palestine conflict, it has left Israeli Prime Minister shaken. Netanyahu demanded a meeting with the US ambassador to Israel immediately and mocked the Obama administration for its silence.
The UN resolution will only have practical effects if it is followed up by the UN and when a specific course of action is identified.
Israel fears that the resolution will open up room for negotiations on sensitive issues in the Israel-Palestine conflict such as border parameters, the right to Jerusalem as a capital and rights of Palestinian refugees.
The resolution clearly states that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law,” asserting that the UN will be definitely intervening on behalf of Palestinians.
The resolution will most likely be discussed in the UN’s International peace convention on Jan 15th which gives the international community time to devise a possible plan of action.
Since the resolution has passed, Netanyahu has been furiously attacking President Obama’s lack of action against the resolution and even accusing the Obama administration of orchestrating it. In an interview with Fox News, David Keyes – a spokesperson for Netanyahu claimed that Arab sources had revealed that it was, in fact, President Obama who pushed the resolution to the UN.
Israel has asserted that it has strong evidence that President Obama was involved in concocting the resolution and will be presenting the material to President-Elect Trump soon.
To add more fuel to the allegations, controversial Israeli ambassador to the US claims that he has collected irrefutable evidence of President Obama’s involvement in the advancement of the resolution, which he will also be sharing with President-Elect Trump.
Although Donald Trump has expressed criticism for the UN resolution on Twitter, there is little he can do to stop it. The incoming administration can repeal the resolution provided they are able to present an entirely new resolution that addresses the same issues/concerns. It would then have to convince nine other countries to vote for it while making sure that none of UN’s permanent members (Russia, UK, France, China) veto it, making the repealing of the resolution highly unlikely.