Egypt postponed a UN Security Council vote due to take place today on a resolution it proposed demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, diplomats said, after Israel’s prime minister and US President-elect Donald Trump urged Washington to veto it.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi told Egypt’s UN mission to postpone the vote, which would have forced US President Barack Obama to decide whether to shield Israel with a veto or, by abstaining, to register criticism of the building on occupied land that the Palestinians want for a state, diplomats said.
In a sign that they feared Obama might abandon the United States’ long-standing diplomatic protection for Israel at the United Nations, Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the White House to veto the draft resolution.
Sisi put off the vote after a request from Israel, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Any council member can propose a draft resolution. Council member Egypt worked with the Palestinians to draft the text.
Egypt circulated the draft yesterday evening and the 15-member council had been due to vote at 20:00 GMT today, diplomats said.
The resolution would demand Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
Israel’s security cabinet was due to hold a special session today to discuss the issue. Israeli officials voiced concern that passage of the resolution would embolden the Palestinians to seek international sanctions against Israel.
In Beirut, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters: “The continuation of settlements is completely weakening the situation on the ground and creating a lot of tension. It is taking away the prospect of a two-state solution. So this could reaffirm our disagreement with this policy.”