Major Jewish group urges US to veto Arab-backed move in Security Council
The Anti-Defamation League on Friday called for the United States to veto a draft resolution asking the UN Security Council to declare "illegal" Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem, dpa reported.
The draft is sponsored by more than 80 governments, including those in Arab and Islamic countries, in support of the Palestinian people. Arab diplomats at UN headquarters in New York said the move was intended to advance the issue of a Palestinian state once the Jewish settlements are declared illegal by the 15-nation council.
The ADL, the largest Jewish organization in the US fighting anti- Semitism, said it had written a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, calling for a US veto once the draft is moved to a vote in the council.
"It is now time for the United States to unambiguously declare it will veto the resolution if it is brought to the council for a vote," said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.
Foxman said the Palestinian leadership is publicly challenging the US not to veto the draft while it has refused to resume direct talks with Israel.
The US has already voiced opposition to the draft, calling the move "corrosive to the Middle East peace process." But it has not said flatly that it will veto it, which in effect would kill the resolution.
The US, Russia, China, France and Britain, the council's five permanent members, have veto power over UN resolutions.
The draft, which was submitted to the council on January 18, calls on the council to "reaffirm that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."
The UN, the European Union, the US and Russia, which form the diplomatic quartet on the Middle East peace process, have called for a two-state solution as part of a settlement in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The quartet's peace road map calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel.
The Palestinian Authority said more than 100 countries have already given principled recognition of a Palestinian state.