Report: US May Abstain from UN Resolution On East Jerusalem


united-nations-human-rights-councilThe US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli construction in east Jerusalem, the BBC is reporting.

According to the report, the possibility was raised during talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani.

A diplomat quoted the senior American official as saying during the meeting that the US would “seriously consider abstaining” if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote.

The US official made the remark after Sheikh Hamad asked him whether Washington would guarantee not to veto a UN Security Council resolution that was critical of Israeli construction in east Jerusalem.

The US, one of five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, usually blocks Security Council resolutions that condemn Israel, but relations have been severely damaged since Israel announced the construction of 1,600 apartments in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

The announcement, which made was during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, drew harsh criticism form the Obama Administration.

The Palestinians responded by pulling out of the US-brokered indirect “proximity talks” with Israel.

The US views Israeli building in east Jerusalem, the part of the city claimed by Palestinians as their future capital, as disruptive to Mideast peacemaking. Israel insists the city cannot be divided and says it has the right to build anywhere.

{Reuters/AP/Yair Israel}