Arab League may bring settlement freeze debate to UN
in Cairo on Wednesday, Arab states will consider initiating an emergency Security Council session on Israel's refusal to renew West Bank building moratorium.
Arab League representatives, set to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the wake of the expiration of Israel's freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, will also consider a proposal to request that an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council be held on the issue, sources at the UN told Haaretz.
The idea to call for a Security Council session on the settlement freeze issue has reportedly been considered before but was put on hold due to the doubts of some Arab representatives at the UN of the benefits of holding such a session.
After Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, however, in which Lieberman questioned the wisdom of direct talks and called a peace deal "unrealistic", support grew among Arab representatives to call for an emergency session on the settlement freeze issue.
According to sources in New York, Arab and Muslim representatives at the UN believe that Lieberman could not have presented his views on a population and territory exchange without advance coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Because of the Arab League's involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian talks, Arab representatives at the UN decided to pass to the Arab League the decision on whether to call for an emergency Security Council session on the expiration of the settlement freeze.
Although the Arab representatives can call for an emergency Security Council session, any Security Council action would be mainly declarative.
The United States is also expected to exert its influence on moderate Arab states to forestall a Security Council debate on the matter. The U.S. position is that an Security Council session on the settlement freeze issue would only harden the positions of the Israelis and the Palestinians as the U.S. tries to prevent a collapse of the peace talks.