UN settlement vote a ‘big blow’ to Israel, Palestinians say
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UN settlement vote a ‘big blow’ to Israel, Palestinians say

Saeb Erekat calls Security Council resolution against West Bank, E. Jerusalem construction 'a historic day and a victory for international legitimacy'

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

The UN Security Council’s vote on Friday demanding Israel halt settlements in the West Bank is a “big blow” to Israeli policy and a “historic day,” Palestinian officials said Friday.

The resolution was adopted after the United States abstained, allowing the measure to pass by a vote of 14 in favor in the 15-member council.

“The Security Council decision is a big blow for Israeli policies,” said Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

The move was “an international and unanimous condemnation of settlements and strong support for the two-state solution,” he told AFP.

Saeb Erekat, a former peace negotiator and the number two in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), spoke of a “historic day.”

“December 23 is a historic day and a victory for international legitimacy, international law and international documents,” said Erekat.

The vote was a “clear and unanimous message to (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu that ‘your policies will not achieve peace and security for Israel or the region,'” he said.

“The only way to peace is through the creation of an independent Palestinian state, and this is what the international community agreed upon today at the Security Council,” he added.

Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks after the UN Security Council approved an anti-settlements resolution, December 23, 2016 (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks after the UN Security Council approved an anti-settlements resolution, December 23, 2016 (Frank Franklin II/AP)

At the UN, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the resolution “reaffirms that Israeli settlements in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine, have no legality, breach international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace.”

Mansour called for “vigilant follow-up” to “salvage the two-state solution,” and slammed Israel’s “blatant contempt” for international law.

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said earlier in New York that his government had expected its US ally to veto “this disgraceful resolution.”

Before the vote an Israeli official, who spoke in Jerusalem on condition of anonymity, had said that US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were “behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN.”

The resolution demands that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

It states that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution” that would see an independent Palestine co-exist alongside Israel.

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