The UN Security Council backed by the international community, has voted in favour of a resolution demanding a halt of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
The resolution which blocked Israel’s illegal activity was presented before the 15-member council and was adopted with fourteen votes in favour. Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem areas that were earlier under Palestine were captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Now the UN as well as the international community has labelled the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. The resolution demanded a halt to ‘all Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem’, saying that it was essential for the peace efforts in the region and ‘for salvaging the two-state solution’. Israel has been making several moves aiming at changing the population-structure in its favour since its capture of the region in 1967 with steps such as driving the Palestinian civilians out of their homes, demolishing their colonies and buildings, seizing their land and giving it to the Jews in Israel and outside the country as well as installing new housing units for the Israeli citizens. The resolution put forward in the UN Security Council condemning Israel’s illegal activities is also the first on the Israel – Palestine issue in nearly eight years. The UN that said that the concept of the State of Israel itself should be regarded without including the Palestinian regions it captured in the war of 1967, has demanded an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from the occupied territory. It also urges to put an end to all acts of terror in the region and to make efforts for a peaceful atmosphere required for the perpetual existence of the two democratic states of both Israel and Palestine. The Council also asked the Secretary General to report the progress of the execution of the resolution every three months.
The resolution put forth by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal on Friday was passed with the United States notably abstaining. Egypt had on Thursday withdrew from the move to condemn Israel’s settlement policy after receiving a phone call from US president-elect Donald Trump. The resolution was thus passed with the ‘support’ of this unusual US abstention. A resolution against Israel was earlier passed in the UN 36 years ago and the reason then too was the United States keeping away from the measure. The abstention therefore is a reversal of the US practice of protecting Israel at the UN and has angered Israel as well as Trump. After January 20th, America’s stance is most likely to take a reverse path. Israel is already on the move to impose economic sanctions on the countries that put forward the resolution and to call back the diplomats. Both Israel as well as Trump argues that the adoption of the resolution would boost terrorist activities in the region. However, Palestinian sources say that the resolution was a victory of international law and humanity. With Trump in the US, Netanyahu in Israel and anti- Arab Muslim right-wing politics in different regions of Europe gaining momentum, it was US president Barack Obama’s dramatic moves that led to the anticipations of the passing of the resolution. Even while the Right-wing extremists inside and outside the country exerted pressure to veto the move, it was only in the end that Obama who maintained a meaningful silence until then, made clear his stand.
The ever-existing curse of the Palestinian issue is not the introduction of resolutions or its adoptions but the world powers with their hidden motives as well as their allies not allowing its accomplishment in the territory. The solution to bring an everlasting peaceful atmosphere in West Asia is in fact related to the mammoth task of resolving the Palestine issue. The UN, the key platform of the international community, has been maintaining a double-standard in the matter ever since the formation of Israel in 1948. The US always stands by Israel by supporting the nation’s unlawful activities. The approach of the US in the matter has therefore, been vital. Although the anti-Israel stand of the US is not going to last long with the President-elect Trump all ready to take up the reins, the 2334th resolution has been successful in sending out a message that the world stand against the illegal moves of Israel against Palestinians. Another effect of the successful adoption of the resolution is that any future move in the Palestine issue will only be possible as a continuation of the new stand. The most suitable description that can be given to this triumph is what ‘Haaretz’, an Israeli newspaper, called it: ‘UN Resolution Is a Breath of Hope in Sea of Darkness and Despair’.