A draft resolution to stop illegal Israeli settlement building was proposed by Egypt to the UN Security Council on Thursday, however the resolution was withdrawn only hours before the vote was due to be cast. Just before the resolution was about to be heard, US President-elect Donald Trump weighed in to ‘advise’ Egypt, who initiated the resolution, to stop it. After being on the receiving end of heavy lobbying from Israel, the resolution was withdrawn. President Obama was planning to abstain, which would have meant the resolution went one step closer to being adopted, whereas, a veto from the US means that the resolution may not be adopted.
Donald Trump stated that the resolution should be vetoed because:
“peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”
He then went on to say that such a vote would be “unfair to all Israelis”, entirely whitewashing Israel’s status as violent occupiers. Trump’s total disregard for the injustice faced by Palestinians is evident time and again, and must be addressed if we are to see any kind of peace during his presidency.
Folding under pressure from Israel and the US, Egypt decided to delay the vote. However, four members of the UN council – New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal – told Egypt that if it does not go ahead with the resolution, they would pursue it without Egypt’s involvement. The US and rest of the Security Council must push the resolution forward, with a view to giving Palestinians an opportunity to take steps towards justice. The UN and the entire international community know that settlements are a major obstacle to peace, and therefore they must prioritise the enforcement of any resolutions that can advance Israel’s accountability to put an end to the illegal occupation.