UN Council postpones vote on Israeli settlements
December 22 2016 06:52 PM
Israeli settlements
Israeli settlements are seen as major stumbling block to peace efforts.

AFP/United Nations

The UN Security Council on Thursday postponed a vote on a draft resolution demanding that Israel halt its settlement activities in the Palestinian territories and east Jerusalem, diplomats said.
Egypt requested the delay to allow time for consultations on the measure, but no new time or date was scheduled, according to diplomats.
Egypt circulated the draft late on Wednesday and a vote was initially scheduled for 3 pm on Thursday.
The move prompted immediate calls from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the United States to use its veto power at the Security Council to block the resolution.
A similar resolution was vetoed by the United States in 2011, and it remained uncertain if the measure would be adopted this time.
President-elect Donald Trump weighed in early Thursday, saying in a statement that the resolution should be vetoed.
"The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed," the Republican said in a statement.
"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," he said.
"This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis," Trump added.
Israeli settlements are seen as major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.
Some in the Israeli government view Trump's victory as an opportunity to expand settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian land occupied by Israel for nearly 50 years.

Last updated: December 22 2016 07:01 PM

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