Israeli colonisation of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) was condemned at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) today in a special debate convened to discuss the issue of settlements.
The session, convened under what is known as the Arria Formula, does not include any vote or resolution. However, the Israeli government is concerned that the session will be a prelude to an unfavourable UNSC resolution after the US presidential election.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman said that Washington is "deeply concerned and strongly oppose settlements which are corrosive to peace." He further said that Israeli policy in the West Bank, including settlement construction and the demolition of Palestinian homes, "creates a one state reality on the ground".
The representatives of France and the UK condemned both Palestinian violence and Israeli settlement expansion.
With the fiftieth anniversary of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip approaching, many contributions to the session emphasised the need for urgent action. Hagai El-Ad, head of Israeli NGO B'Tselem, told the meeting that "anything short of decisive international action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation."
Israeli NGO Peace Now told the UNSC that "between 2009 and 2015, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the construction of 11,000 new housing units was promoted", adding that "there is an entire Israeli system dedicated to expanding the settlements."
.@HagaiElAd: 50 years of "temporary" occupation are too long for even a single person on this planet to accept such a contradiction in terms
— Chelsey Berlin (@chelseyberlin) October 14, 2016
#Angola: What does Israel intend to achieve with it's expansion into OPT? Perpetual violence? An apartheid-style regime?
— State of Palestine (@Palestine_UN) October 14, 2016
Every UNSC delegation to speak (including UK & France) has affirmed illegality of Israeli settlements- remember that as occupation turns 50
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) October 14, 2016