UN to discuss resolution demanding that Israel halt West Bank settlement construction
Sources: Driving force behind resolution is Saudi Arabia, though it was officially initiated by Arab League.
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to discuss a draft resolution next week demanding that Israel halt all construction in West Bank settlements.
Representatives of the UN's Arab bloc met Thursday at the UN headquarters in New York for a final discussion of the draft and made last-minute revisions in preparation for its submission to the Security Council.
UN sources told Haaretz that the draft is the first that addresses the settlement issue in "a sweeping, unequivocal and direct manner." According to the sources, the driving force behind the resolution is Saudi Arabia, although officially, it was an initiative of the Arab League.
Diplomats affiliated with the Arab bloc said that Arab representatives at the UN have been discussing the new resolution for several weeks, during which time the draft has undergone several revisions.
The decision to formally submit the draft next week, the diplomats said, was made in response to Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim's announcement that tenders had been issued for the construction of 120 housing units in Har Homa and 700 units in Pisgat Ze'ev. Both Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev are neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was sharply critical of the decision to issue the tenders, calling the building plans a blatant violation of the road map peace plan. According to the diplomats, this condemnation by Ban spurred the Arab bloc to expedite its deliberations and request an urgent meeting of the Security Council, at which they plan to submit the draft.
If the resolution is put to a vote, most Security Council members are expected to vote in favor of it. However, the United States' position on the issue is not yet clear. Although the American administration has consistently opposed Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the U.S. nonetheless generally vetoes Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, viewing them as unhelpful interference in the peace process.