UN postpones vote on Israeli settlements resolution 'after Netanyahu persuades Trump to intervene'

Diplomats say there is no timeframe for when the vote would take place

Friday 23 December 2016 10:29

The UN Security Council has postponed a vote on a resolution that demands Israel stop all settlement activities that are deemed to be a violation of international law, after the country's leader persuaded Donald Trump to intervene.

An Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned to the President-elect to help head off the resolution after learning the White House did not intend to veto the measure.

The Egyptian-sponsored resolution had demanded that Israel halt settlement activities in occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians and declared that existing settlements “have no legal validity.”

But under heavy Israeli pressure, Egypt cancelled the planned vote in the Security Council hours before it was to take place.

The official, speaking to Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that after “becoming aware” that the Obama administration would not veto the resolution, Israeli officials “reached out to Trump's transition team to ask for the President-elect's help.”

Diplomats have said there is no timeframe for when the vote will now take place.

Mr Netanyahu also apparently placed pressure on Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to have the resolution pushed later, according to Haaretz.

Egypt will be conducting additional meetings with the Arab League to work on the wording of the resolution.

The initial resolution called for “states, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967” and “for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction”.

US President-elect Donald Trump took to Facebook and Twitter to say America should veto the resolution.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” Mr Trump said.

“This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

President Obama had previously vetoed a resolution presented by the Palestinians against settlements in 2011.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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