United Nations: The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution urging Israel to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The 15-nation council reaffirms the Israeli settlement activities have "no legal validity" and constitute a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, Xinhua news agency reported. While 14 council members voted in favor, the United States abstained.
The resolution demands that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard".
Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast War. About a decade later, right-wing Israelis started to establish settlements on these lands. The US sees the settlements, which are illegal by the international laws, as an obstacle to peace. The Palestinians have vowed not to return to the negotiating table unless Israel freezes its settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution in a statement released by his spokesperson. "The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with the international community to create a conducive environment for a return to meaningful negotiations," it said.
Israel on the other hand, slammed the resolution and said it will not obey it. Condemning the "despicable" resolution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel "will not subordinate itself" to "this absurd" resolution.