U.S. Senate Leaders Back Bipartisan Bid Condemning Anti-settlements UN Vote [Haaretz]
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) backed on January 4 a bipartisan move in the U.S. Senate to condemn a recently passed United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlements. The two leaders are among a group of 20 senators who cosponsored the Senate resolution, introduced earlier in the day by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and Ben Cardin (D-Md). The motion calls on the UN to repeal Resolution 2334 adopted two weeks ago by the Security Council. The Senate resolution includes a clause demanding that the United States would "ensure that no action is taken at the Paris Conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… that imposes an agreement or parameters on the parties." The summit in Paris is slated for January 15, 2017.
Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms [United Nations]
According to the United Nations, “The Security Council reaffirmed on December 23, 2016 that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders. Adopting resolution 2334 (2016) by 14 votes, with the United States abstaining, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It underlined that it would not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations. The Council called for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction.”
The United States Just Made Middle East Peace Harder [The Washington Post]
Middle East analyst Elliot Abrams wrote, “Sizing up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict upon assuming office, President Obama decided Israeli settlements were the problem, and he insisted on a total freeze on construction. What followed were eight years of deadlock, the deterioration of U.S. relations with Israelis and Palestinians alike, and widespread disillusionment with the two-state solution. Despite this track record, Obama is leaving off where he began: In a departure from Washington’s typical role as Israel’s defender at the United Nations, the United States refused to use its veto and allowed the adoption of a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.”
Abbas: UNSC Resolution Says Settlements Illegitimate, Not Israel [The Jerusalem Post]
According to The Jerusalem Post, "UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was not an anti-Israel decision, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said on January 5, speaking to some 200 Israeli activists, professors and former officials. 'UNSC Resolution 2334 was not against Israel; it was against settlements, no more, no less,' Abbas told the Israelis, who traveled from all over the country to meet with the PA president at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah. 'It did not say Israel is illegitimate; it said settlements are illegitimate.'"
Click here to read the full Churches for Middle East Bulletin, including links to these stories.