Creating new perspectives since 2009

UK instrumental in getting anti-settlement resolution passed

December 28, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Image of the UN Security Council resolution that called Israel to stop settlement activities on Palestinian territories on December 23 2016 [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]

Britain played a leading behind the scene role in pushing through last Friday’s UN Security Council resolution, which declared Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and as having “no legal validity” and a “flagrant violation under international law.”

Resolution 2334 was adopted 14-0 with the US abstaining. Israel accused Britain and the US of pulling the strings in making sure it was adopted by the 15 member UN body.

Israel has mainly directed its anger towards the Obama administration but Britain’s role has also been singled out.

Speaking to the US media, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said: “This is not a text that was formulated by the Palestinians or Egypt, but by a western power.” Britain in particular is thought to have played a major role in mediating between the Palestinians and the Americans to ensure the text eventually put forward by New Zealand, and not Egypt, met the concerns of both sides.

Israeli officials also believe that British diplomats at the UN played a major part in crafting the resolution so that it was acceptable to the US and did not force Obama to veto the resolution.

According to Haaretz, the British became active regarding the resolution a few days prior to the UN vote. The Israeli diplomats said the British ministries and officials were working directly with the Palestinians on the wording of the resolution even before it was distributed by Egypt a week ago. According to the Israeli diplomats, the British did this secretly and without informing Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said that “backing UN vote would be declaration of war”, decided against meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May at next month’s Davos summit in response to Britain’s vote in favour of the resolution, the Telegraph newspaper reported. The British newspaper also stated that the UK ambassador in Tel Aviv was summoned on Christmas Day for a dressing down.