— David Streeter
The AP reported that 14 members of the United Nations Security Council expressed frustration at the Obama Administration for defending Israel by blocking the effort to condemn Israel’s settlement policies in the West Bank. According to the AP:
Fourteen frustrated members of the U.N. Security Council pointed a finger at the United States Tuesday for blocking any condemnation of Israel’s accelerated settlement construction in Palestinian territory….
While the United States was not mentioned by name, the diplomats anger was clearly directed at Washington which vetoed a resolution in February backed by the 14 other council members that would have demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building. The Obama administration has also promised to veto any Security Council resolution supporting Palestine’s bid to become the 194th member of the United Nations.
The U.S. has said repeatedly it does not support settlement building. But Payton Knopf, the U.S. Mission’s deputy spokesman, told AP “the only way to resolve the outstanding issues between Israelis and Palestinians is through serious and substantive direct negotiations.”
The United States also opposes Security Council action on “final status issues” because this “would only harden the positions of both sides and make the resumption of negotiations more difficult,” Knopf said.
President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has been working intensely to ensure that Israel receives fair treatment in UN bodies and is not singled out for criticism. Rice was recently honored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and spoke about her work to defend Israel in UN bodies.