TEL AVIV – At the behest of the Palestinian Authority, Egypt on Thursday introduced a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel halt all settlement activity, meaning Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The resolution set off a diplomatic showdown, with the PA for months urging the Obama administration not to vote against UN action on Israeli settlements and Israeli officials warning on Thursday that by voting for the resolution the U.S. would be breaching its longstanding policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.
The resolution, circulated late Wednesday night, was originally slated for a vote at 3 p.m. EST (10 p.m. here in Israel). Later on Thursday, Egypt requested a delay in the vote to allow time for consultations on the text of the resolution.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent out the following tweet, calling for the U.S. to veto what he described as “the anti-Israel resolution” at the UN:
The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 22, 2016
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated the resolution “will do nothing to promote a diplomatic process, and will only reward the Palestinian policy of incitement and terror.”
“We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the council,” he said.
French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal told reporters in Israel that France would likely vote in favor of the resolution.
In a briefing to diplomatic reporters, French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal said the Egyptian draft resolution is more balanced than another version distributed to Security Council members two weeks ago by the Palestinians. The resolution, she said, does not talk about the settlements exclusively, but also speaks of the need to stop the violence and terrorism and to prevent all incitement from the Palestinian side.
“There is no decision yet. We voted for similar text before … and I assume the direction will be to support the Egyptian resolution,” Le Gal told the reporters.
The text of the resolution repeatedly and wrongly refers to the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem as “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.” In actuality, the Palestinians never had a state in either the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem and they are not legally recognized as the undisputed authority in those areas.
Jordan occupied and annexed the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem from 1948 until Israel captured the lands in a defensive war in 1967 after Arab countries used the territories to launch attacks against the Jewish state. In 1988 Jordan officially renounced its claims to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
The text of the resolution declares that the Israeli settlement enterprise 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.”
It calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
As the Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) pointed out in an email blast, international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no “partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,” as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can’t prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.