Diplomacy

Security Council Postpones Vote on Anti-Israel Resolution, Potentially Indefinitely

The United Nations Security Council has postponed a vote on an anti-Israel resolution that was set to take place on Thursday afternoon, The Times of Israel reported.

Egypt, which introduced the resolution, requested the delay following “high level” contacts with Israel. No alternate date and time for the vote has been announced, with one unnamed western diplomatic source telling Reuters that it was postponed “potentially indefinitely.”

The resolution sought to declare that any activity involving Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice agreement lines “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Concern over the measure prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call on the United States to abide by its long-standing commitments and exercise its veto, as it did over a similar resolution in 2011. Washington has historically vetoed anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, with Democratic and Republican administrations, both houses of Congress, and multiple foreign policy experts, including veteran peace negotiators, stressing that Israeli-Palestinian peace can only be reached through bilateral negotiations.

In a conference call with reporters, Dore Gold, former director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said that the Oslo II agreement between Israel and the Palestinians stipulates that the matter of settlements is to be negotiated between the two parties. He added that the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to participate in bilateral negotiations and efforts to attack Israel in international fora are the real obstacles to peace.

Gold contended that characterizations of settlements as illegal are based on a misapplication of the Fourth Geneva Convention, though he acknowledged that is a minority opinion. He also questioned how the international community could continue zeroing-in on Israel considering the current tumult in the region.

“We are now in aftermath of the fall of Aleppo, and we are seeing ethnic cleansing across the board in Syria, where Sunni Arabs are scared to death, leaving their homes, and moving into Turkey and Europe,” he said. “And we are seeing the Iranians using the Shi’ite population from Iraq and as far away as Afghanistan and Pakistan and moving them into these areas to alter the demographic balance of the Levant. That is exactly what the Fourth Geneva Convention wanted to address, and that is exactly what is being ignored today by the UN.”

A recording of the call is embedded below.

[Photo: Ad Meskens / WikiCommons ]