CMEP Bulletin: Votes, Vetoes and Funding in the Quest for Peace
United States Vetoes Security Council Resolution
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice vetoed a Security Council resolution February 18 that condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and urges Israel to cease further settlement construction.
The resolution was submitted for a vote despite the best efforts of the Obama administration, which had urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw the resolution from consideration.
As the New York Times has noted, the proposed resolution put the White House in a political bind
On the one hand, the Obama administration did not want to have to appear to contradict its own stated policy on Israeli settlements by vetoing the resolution. The White House has repeatedly pressed Israel to cease settlement construction, and on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the administration view that it does not “accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”
While the Carter Administration held that Israeli settlements were illegal, since Reagan’s Administration, the United States has threatened to veto any Security Resolution that is critical of Israel, including those which claim that Israeli settlements violate international law. Successive administrations also have also argued that the UN Security Council is not the appropriate forum to address these issues, instead insisting that settlements be addressed within direct negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian governments.
The Obama administration attempted to balance each priority while casting its vote on Friday.
Although Ambassador Rice rejected the resolution, she also stressed the “folly and illegitimacy of continued settlement activity” — a phrase that expressed the administration’s displeasure with Israeli settlements in much starker language than any White House has used in the recent past.
Continue reading this CMEP Bulletin, including the following items:
- New construction in East Jerusalem revealed
- Egypt and Israel
- The fallacy of the “Clash of Civilizations”
- Reduced dependence on aid for the Palestinian Authority
- US aid in the Middle East
- Additional resources