Belgian ministers on Saturday expressed their “grave concern” over rising tensions with Israel and Palestine following the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the protection of Palestinians.
In late May, Kuwait submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli violence and calling for “protection of the Palestinian people” in Gaza and the West Bank.
But the US on Friday vetoed the resolution. Ten countries voted in favour, while the UK, Poland, the Netherlands and Ethiopia abstained.
“[Foreign Minister] Didier Reynders and [Deputy Prime Minister] Alexander De Croo are worried by the absence of judicial action against a number of incidents of violence and vandalism committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank,” a joint statement said.
“The ministers wish to recall that all settlements are against international law and violate the obligations of Israel as military occupying power.
“The extension of the neighbouring settlements, by dividing the West Bank in two and completely isolating Jerusalem from its hinterland, would threaten the very prospect of the creation of a viable and contiguous State of Palestine in the future.”
The Israeli authorities late Wednesday approved construction of hundreds of new settlement units in the West Bank.
Roughly 600,000 Israelis currently live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel occupied the territories in 1967.
The Palestinians want these areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for a future state of Palestine.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land illegal.