Israel cuts diplomatic ties to countries that condemned settlements in UNSC vote

The construction of a wall in the West Bank separating Israel from Palestinian territories in the area. (Photo credit: SarahTz via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Israel dialed back diplomatic ties to 10 countries Tuesday whose governments supported a United Nations resolution condemning settlements in Palestinian territory. The 15-member Security Council vote was nearly unanimous: 14 nations in support, one abstention: the United States. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry officially limited relations with embassies from 10 of the 14 countries that supported the Security Council resolution which calls Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory a “flagrant violation” of international law with no “legal validity.”

In a departure from its longstanding staunch support of Israel at the international body, the U.S. abstained from the vote – sparking the ire of Israeli officials who allege that Washington actually orchestrated the move. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday that they have evidence supporting the claim and they will present it to incoming president Donald Trump once he takes office.

But Tuesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby expressly denied the accusation: “I think is all a little bit of a sideshow, to be honest. This was a resolution that we could not in good conscience veto – because it condemns violence, it condemns incitement, it reiterates what has long been the overwhelming consensus international view on settlements – and it calls on parties to take constructive steps to advance a two state solution the ground. There was nothing in there that would prompt us to veto that type of resolution.”

Kirby added that the pace of settlement construction in recent years is rendering the viability of a two state solution increasingly impossible.

The UN resolution calls for a complete halt to settlement activities, but Israeli authorities show no sign of slowing that pace. According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, the municipality of Jerusalem is set to consider nearly 400 construction permits this week.

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