US opposes Security Council settlement vote

US diplomats at the United Nations indicated that they will oppose a Palestinian effort to bring a draft resolution on Israeli settlement activity to a vote at the UN Security Council. The Security Council debated yesterday the proposed resolution, which was presented by the Lebanese representative on the council. However, diplomats said privately that the 15-nation Security Council was unlikely to take any action on the draft resolution soon – if at all – because of the likely US veto. Washington had attempted to dissuade the Palestinian Authority from presenting the resolution to avoid using its veto power, even though the Obama administration opposes Israeli construction in the West Bank.

US Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo made clear that Washington’s position on the settlements issue – that it should be resolved in direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians – had not changed. “We therefore consistently oppose attempts to bring these issues to this council, and we will continue to do so because such action moves us no closer to the goal of negotiated final settlement,” DiCarlo told the council.

The UK’s ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant said, “The United Kingdom has always been clear that settlements are illegal as well as being an obstacle to peace.” However he also added that, “Creating an atmosphere conducive to peace entails responsibilities on both sides.  Israel’s legitimate security concerns must be met.” He called on the parties to, “find a way to restart negotiations,” which, he stated, represented the best chance to achieve peace.