For the first time in 36 years, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution criticizing the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, calling them an obstacle to the two-state solution, and calling on Israel to reverse the expansions of the settlements. The vote was unanimous, 14-0, with only the United States abstaining.
The resolution was initially scheduled for vote on Thursday as an Egypt-sponsored measure, but Egypt withdrew it in the face of Israeli lobbying, and a push from US President-elect Donald Trump. The identical resolution was raised today by Malaysia, Senegal, Venezuela, and New Zealand, and finally got its vote.
Israeli officials again scrambled to try to block the resolution, suggesting the US owed them a veto, though that ultimately did not happen. Egypt voted in favor of the resolution despite blocking it yesterday, insisting that the delay was just a “procedural” matter and that Egypt supports Palestinian statehood more than anyone.
US Ambassador Samantha Power insisted that abstaining from the vote was in keeping with long-standing US policy, saying that they agreed with the language of the resolution, and that’s why they didn’t veto it. She also railed against the United Nations in general for not being sufficiently pro-Israel, saying the legitimacy of the UN is at stake in allowing such resolutions.
Israeli officials have indicated that the resolution will not effect any of their policies, and that they will continue with the expansion of settlements, irrespective of what the UN vote says.