Sunday, February 20, 2011

Obama Administration Supports Israeli Crimes in Occupied Territories

Obama’s First UN Veto: US to Stop Security Council Calling Israeli Settlements ‘Illegal’

Jason Ditz,
February 16, 2011
Antiwar Forum

The Obama Administration is threatening to use its first ever UN Security Council veto this week when the Palestinian Authority moves forward with a non-binding resolution referring to the settlement construction in the Occupied Territories as “illegal.”

The case for the illegality of conquering territory, depopulating it, and building government subsidized, religiously exclusive cities over the ruins does not appear to be in serious doubt over much of the world, but of course it is a topic of debate in Israel, and like any good topic of debate in Israel the most ignorant and hawkish position has become law of the land in the US, to the point that suggestions to the contrary are considered outrageous

Which has left the administration offering to support a watered-down draft calling the settlements “not legitimate” instead, but skirting the question of legality.

Of course neither resolution means much of anything in the long run, settlements will still be built and the US will still throw money at Israel as fast as the Federal Reserve can print it. The fact that the Obama Administration is willing to throw its “first veto” at something as frivolous as a dispute of the Geneva Conventions’ ban on settlements, however, seems troubling.


Obama Warned Palestinians Of Repercussions if Abbas Goes to UN


February 18, 2011 "AFP" -- RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories --- US President Barack Obama warned the Palestinians of "repercussions" if they pushed for a UN Security Council vote against Jewish settlements, an official said on Friday.

"President Obama threatened on Thursday night to take measures against the Palestinian Authority if it insists on going to the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity, and demand that it be stopped," a senior Palestinian official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Obama's remarks came during an hour-long telephone conversation between the two late on Thursday, in which the US leader tried to dissuade Abbas from supporting a UN Security Council vote due to take place later on Friday.

During the call, Obama told Abbas: "There will be repercussions for Palestinian-American relations if you continue your attempts to go to the Security Council and ignore our requests in this matter, especially as we suggested other alternatives."

He was referring to a package of incentives laid out earlier this week aimed at enticing the Palestinians to withdraw their support for the draft resolution on settlements which is being put before the Security Council.

After the Palestinians had rejected the initial offer, Obama rang Abbas late on Thursday to suggest that the Security Council issue a non-binding statement calling on Israel to implement a settlement freeze.

During the conversation, Abbas had rejected the offer, saying: "Stopping settlement activity is a Palestinian demand that will not be taken back because it was the reason the peace process fell apart," the official quoted him as saying.

"It was a decision taken by the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people are sticking to this demand."

It was not immediately clear at what stage in the phone call Obama had warned Abbas against rejecting the US overtures.

US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in late 2010 after the expiry of a temporary freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Efforts by Washington to coax Israel into reimposing a freeze collapsed in December, and the Palestinians are refusing to continue negotiating while Israel builds on land they want for their promised state.

The United States, which regularly uses its Security Council veto power to stop anti-Israeli initiatives, is very keen to avoid the vote because it does not want to be forced to cast a veto.

Should it do so, it would be the first time the United States has used its veto power since Obama took office in January 2009.


U.S. veto thwarts UN resolution condemning settlements

Palestinian Authority leadership brought draft resolution against Israeli settlements to the UN security council, despite pressure from the U.S. to withdraw it.

By Shlomo Shamir, Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid

Latest update 23:19 18.02.11

The United States on Friday voted against a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal. The veto by the U.S., a permanent council member, prevented the resolution from being adopted. (Editor: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law and are patently immoral. It is outrageous that the United States stands alone in supporting Israel's crimes, a testiment to the power of the Zionist Lobby in America)

The other 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the draft resolution. But the U.S., as one of five permanent council members with the power to block any action by the Security Council, struck it down.

The resolution had nearly 120 co-sponsors, exclusively Arab and other non-aligned nations.

The Obama administration's veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world.

The U.S. opposes new Israeli settlements but says taking the issue to the UN will only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.

Palestinians say continued settlement building flouts the internationally-backed peace plan that will permit them to create a viable, contiguous state on the land after a treaty with Israel to end its occupation and 62 years of conflict.

Israel says this is an excuse for avoiding peace talks and a precondition never demanded before during 17 years of negotiation, which has so far produced no agreement.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters rallied in support of the UN vote on Friday near Ramallah displaying banners demanding: "Veto settlements. Vote justice".

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