The U.N. Security Council convened on Wednesday in the aftermath of the U.S. State Department’s policy change on Tuesday regarding the legal status of the Jewish communities in the West Bank.
“All settlements are illegal and hurt prospects for peace, as is in line with U.N. Resolution 2334,” said British Ambassador to the United Nations Dame Karen Pierce, speaking on behalf of the European Union. She also called on Israel to “cease all settlement activity.”
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 was passed in December 2016, denouncing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The United States chose not to exercise its automatic veto and instead abstained from it, thereby allowing for the resolution to pass. The abstention was seen by critics to be a final parting shot at Israel by U.S. President Barack Obama before leaving office.
“One of the main obstacles to a political settlement remains the ongoing Israeli occupation and settlement building in the territories. We remain our opposition to settlements, which are illegal under international law and undermine any prospect” for peace, said Jurgen Schulz, the German Deputy Permanent Representative.
Israel’s ambassador to the world body, Danny Danon, attacked the European position, saying it hampers prospects for resolving the conflict.
Danon responded to their criticism: “When the international community tries to force its solution, it achieves the opposite effect. When Palestinians see that their battles are being fought for them, why would they agree to come to the negotiating table, where they would have to compromise?”
“The automatic support of some European countries for the Palestinians has resulted in a propaganda campaign that starts in New York and ends in Ramallah,” he continued. “If you want to truly help, you must change your approach because your criticism is preventing direct negotiations.”
He then observed that “there are two real obstacles to peace that must be prevented if we are ever to reach an agreement. The first is the Palestinian Authority’s incitement against Israel and the Jewish people. When an entire generation is taught in school that the State of Israel has no right to exist; when children are taught to idolize ‘martyrs’ whose so-called heroic acts are killing innocent people; when teachers demonize Jews, we are faced with a real obstacle to peace.
“The second real obstacle to peace is your attempt to determine the outcome of negotiations before they have even started. The international community uses questionable legal tools trying to solve a political conflict.”
Danon applauded the change in U.S. policy, saying that “this policy rights a historical wrong. Judea and Samaria are inseparable parts of the Jewish people’s homeland. This is not a recent development or claim, but a historical truth that will never again be denied.”