The UN Security Council will vote today on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements after four council members again put forward the measure a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump.
New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, who were co-sponsors of the draft resolution, have requested the vote, which diplomats said was likely to take place at 20:00.
The 15-member council had been due to vote yesterday and Western officials said the United States had intended to allow the draft resolution to be adopted, a major reversal of US practice of protecting Israel from action.
New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal told Egypt yesterday night that if Cairo did not clarify its position, then they reserved the right to “proceed to put it to vote ASAP”.
Security Council member Egypt then officially withdrew the text, which it had worked on with the Palestinians, allowing those four countries to call for a vote, diplomats said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump had both called for the United States to veto the draft resolution.
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the Republican president-elect had spoken with both Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi about the proposed Security Council action.
“He put out a statement about the Egyptian motion that was going to happen at the UN. It was revoked,” Spicer said on NBC‘s “Today” programme today. “President Al-Sisi called, Prime Minister Netanyahu called. He is getting results, whether it’s domestically or abroad.”
The draft resolution would demand Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and said the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.
The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Most countries and the United Nations view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.