February 18, 2011 by USA Post
Israel UN, (AFP) – The United States on Friday vetoed an Arab resolution to the Security Council of the United Nations that would have condemned the continued Israeli settlement building, sparking anger among Palestinians immediately. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Washington had “unfortunately” decided to oppose the resolution, sponsored by some 130 countries, after asking his compromise measure was rejected. “This draft resolution risk of hardening of positions on both sides,” Rice said. “This could encourage the parties to stay away from negotiations.” And she stressed Washington’s veto – the first by the administration of President Barack Obama to the UN – should not be considered U.S. support for settlement building.
“We reject in the strongest of the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” she told the Council. – However, she said: “Our opposition to this resolution should not be interpreted to mean that we support the settlement activity, on the contrary we reject in the strongest of the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement.”
Obama made it clear he considers the settlements in the Palestinian territories as a serious obstacle to peace in the protracted conflict, but face a difficult choice; he decided not to abandon the traditional support of the America to Israel at the UN.
Sponsored peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians failed last year when the Israelis refused to stop construction work on institutions.
Although Israelis are quite satisfied with the result, the veto of the United States was likely to anger Arab countries both street protests increasingly in the region, fueled by hopes for democracy, that administration supports Obama.
“The U.S. veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue its colonies, and to escape the obligations of the peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, an aide to Mr. Abbas.
The resolution, sponsored by at least 130 countries, said Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories were illegal and “a major obstacle to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Speaking in Ramallah, the PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo said the U.S. veto was “unfortunate” and “undermining the credibility of the U.S. administration.”
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