U.S. Veto Thwarts UN Resolution Condemning Settlements

Palestinian Authority leadership brought draft resolution against Israeli settlements to the UN security council, despite pressure from the U.S. to withdraw it.

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The United States on Friday voted against a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal. The veto by the U.S., a permanent council member, prevented the resolution from being adopted.

The other 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the draft resolution. But the U.S., as one of five permanent council members with the power to block any action by the Security Council, struck it down.

The resolution had nearly 120 co-sponsors, exclusively Arab and other non-aligned nations.

The Obama administration's veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world.

The U.S. opposes new Israeli settlements but says taking the issue to the UN will only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.

Palestinians say continued settlement building flouts the internationally-backed peace plan that will permit them to create a viable, contiguous state on the land after a treaty with Israel to end its occupation and 62 years of conflict.

Israel says this is an excuse for avoiding peace talks and a precondition never demanded before during 17 years of negotiation, which has so far produced no agreement.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters rallied in support of the UN vote on Friday near Ramallah displaying banners demanding: "Veto settlements. Vote justice".

United Nations General Assembly Hall on Oct. 12, 2010. Credit: AP

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