UN Security Council Denounces Israel in Statement

The United Nations Security Council denounced Israel’s plan to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. 

It marks the first action the United States has allowed the body to take against its ally Israel in six years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the format U.N. statement, saying it was denying Jews’ “historic” rights, and faulted the U.S. for supporting it. 

Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist coalition on Feb. 12 granted retroactive authorization to nine settler outposts that had been erected without government approval, angering the Palestinians, who want the West Bank for a future state.

The move also drew condemnation from Western powers and Israel’s Arab partners, who deem all the settlements illegal.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,” the security council said in the statement. “The Security Council expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on February 12.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office then said on Monday that Israel will not authorize new settlements in the occupied West Bank in the coming months.

Netanyahu’s office described the U.N. statement as “one-sided”. Netanyahu specifically criticized the U.S. for supporting it. 

“The statement should not have been made and the United States should not have joined it,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council that the United States opposes Israel’s Feb. 12 settlement plans.

“These unilateral measures exacerbate tensions. They harm trust between the parties. They undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution. The United States does not support these actions full stop,” Thomas-Greefield said.

Most world powers view as illegal the settlements Israel has built on land it captured in a 1967 war with Arab powers. Israel disputes that and cites biblical, historical, and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.

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