14 May 2011

Amnesty International: U.S. Veto of UN Resolution Gives "Green Light" to Israel to Expand Illegal Settlements

Israeli settlers enjoy the swimming pool in the Maaleh Adumim settlement, West Bank (OPT), September 2009. This settlement was unlawfully established in the West Bank (OPT) in violation of international law; while nearby Palestinian communities struggle to access even minimal quantities of water for their basic needs. (Photo: Angela Godfrey-Goldstein)

Amnesty International Friday condemned the United States' veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution reaffirming that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal and demanding that Israel cease all settlement activities in the OPT, including East Jerusalem.

The other 14 members of the UN Security Council voted in favour of Resolution S/2011/24, which was proposed by Lebanon and co-sponsored by some 120 countries.

"The US cannot credibly insist that it opposes Israel's continuing settlement construction while vetoing a resolution that demands Israel fulfil its legal obligations, as well as its previous commitments to the Quartet and the US government," said T. Kumar, Amnesty International U.S.A. International Advocacy director.

"The Israeli government, which seeks to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, will interpret this veto as U.S. approval to do so, and conclude that it can escape international censure."

"We are also concerned about the U.S. government attempts to pressure the Palestinian Authority not to bring this resolution to a vote. If the U.S. is serious about human rights and change in the Middle East, it should back the international consensus against Israeli settlement activity and the resulting human rights violations."

Israel's policy of settling its civilians on occupied land violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime, according to the statute of the International Criminal Court.

Israel's settlement policy is also inherently discriminatory and results in continuing violations of the rights to adequate housing, water, and livelihoods for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Bron: Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)

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