The UK must see UN settlement resolution upheld in 2017

December 29, 2016 /

A UN resolution called for an end to Israeli settlement building last week and could be a turning point in ending the Israeli occupation.

Despite pressures in the preceding days to stop the vote, the resolution went ahead with 14 out of 15 states voting for an end to the building of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.  Settlement building was deemed illegal by the International Court in 2005, and the new resolution 2334 concluded that settlements ‘have no legal validity and are a flagrant violation of international law.’[1] The wider international community, including the UK’s UN representative Matthew Rycroft stated that the UK “supported the resolution text, since it was in the best interests of both sides and renewed efforts for a peaceful two-State solution.”[2]

From 2006 to 2013, Israel was condemned in a total of 45 resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as over a hundred others by the UNSC and UNGA from 1948 onwards.  Settlements have previously been addressed in 5 of these resolutions from 1979, 1980 to the current day.

However, the main concern of those who support the rights of Palestinians, is that these resolutions have not stopped Israel’s belligerence before, as they have contravened and ignored a number of them in the past 70 years. Therefore, it is essential that UK government and the entire international community take key steps to ensure that these resolutions and laws are upheld. Only the day after resolution 2334 was passed, Israel continued with the destruction of Palestinian homes and property to expand settlement building[3], a clear demonstration that the resolution itself is meaningless without further action.

Any inaction sends the wrong message, not only to the international community, but more importantly to Israel, suggesting that it can continue to disregard international law without consequence.  We call on the UK government to lead as an example on the world stage to ensure that this resolution is acted upon, contributing to a lasting peace.