At the United Nations Security Council, a rare international consensus was achieved, observes the Israeli peace bloc Gush Shalom.
It was clearly and unequivocally resolved that the establishment of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is an impermissible act, contrary to international law, and that the state of Israel must cease immediately and completely construction and expansion of settlements.
The resolution was adopted by the votes of all Security Council members, represent all parts of the Earth, First World and Third World alike – Europe and North America, South America and Africa and Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand (which itself shared in presenting the resolution to the vote). There was not a single country in the entire world to speak in favour of continuing the settlement enterprise and theft of Palestinian lands.
The achievement of this consensus was made possible thanks to President Obama’s decision to cease the policy of automatic veto. It was this automatic veto which had led the government of Israel to live in a virtual reality and continue plunging us deeper into the abyss of occupation, oppression and the eternal conflict with the Palestinians. It is well Obama broke the veto policy, even if at his last moment in office.
As is well known, within a month Donald Trump is about to enter the White House. Trump’s strident voice on the subject of the settlements was already heard out of the mouth of the manifestly undiplomatic ambassador to Israel whom he appointed.
The Israeli cabinet ministers who act as if the Messiah has come would be well-advised to be more cautious. Linking up the future of the state of Israel to a man who by all indications will be one of the most controversial presidents in US history is a short-sighted and highly dangerous policy.
Trump will come, cause damage and disappear. Israel will remain facing the worldwide opposition to the settlements.
24 December 2016
Gush Shalom is the “hard core” of the Israeli peace movement that aims to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and reconciliation with the Palestinian people.
Israel’s settlements have no legal validity, constitute flagrant violation of international law, Security Council reaffirms
14 delegations in favour of Resolution 2334 (2016) as United States abstains, reports the United Nations.
The Security Council reaffirmed [in the afternoon of 23 December 2016] that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders.
Adopting resolution 2334 (2016) by 14 votes, with the United States abstaining, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It underlined that it would not recognise any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.
The Council called for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction. It further called for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism.
The Council called on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground and rebuild trust and confidence.
Also by the text, the Council called on all parties to continue to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final-status issues in the Middle East peace process, and within the time frame specified by the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russian Federation, United Nations, United States) in its statement of 21 September 2010. It called upon all states to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the state of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.
The full text of resolution 2334 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
“Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
“Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,
“Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,
“Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
“Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
“Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
“Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
“Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,
“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
“2. Reiterates its demand 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;
“3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
“4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;
“5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
“6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
“7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;
“8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;
“9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;
“10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;
“11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”