UN condemns Israel, again

UN condemns Israel, again

On 24th Jan 16, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would build 2,500 more homes in Jewish settlements "in response to housing needs". It is the second such announcement by the Israeli authorities since US President Donald Trump took office.

Is Israel is testing Trump’s commitment? 

  • On 24th Jan 16, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would build 2,500 more homes in Jewish settlements "in response to housing needs". It is the second such announcement by the Israeli authorities since US President Donald Trump took office.
  • The United Nations has again condemned Israeli plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank. A UN spokesman said "unilateral actions" were an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution.

Will US continue to support Israel in UN? 

  • There have been 226 UNSC resolutions relating to Israel since 1948. The US has only abstained from less than two dozen of them , while over 200 resolutions were actually supported by the US. 
  • About 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This occupation is considered illegal in international law.
  • During December 16, Egypt had introduced a resolution at the U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlements as illegal. US abstained, and the resolution was passed, 14-0. Trump during this time had argued for a veto and tweeted for Israel to “stay strong” until his inauguration. 

Analysis

  • The US in the UN has traditionally refrained, from stating as “illegal” the building of Israeli housing in majority-Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. The US normally insists UN resolutions to be balanced in criticism of both Palestinian violence and Israeli settlements.
  • PM Benjamin Netanyahu is putting pressure on President Trump to support Israel in the fresh settlements. What will be Trump’s stand on the issue, now that he is in power? The fundamental options he has are to support Israel, not to support Israel or to remain neutral on the issue.

Assessment

  • Remaining neutral on the issue, is the most likely option President Trump would take. Trump’s immediate focus is domestic; jobs, spending, tax cuts, immigration controls, bilateral trade, etc. At this juncture, managing difficult international geopolitics, may not be a priority. But, PM Netanyahu’s intentions seem clear. He would like to seize the opportunity of the new President’s sympathy for Israel, to remove the possibility of a two-state solution and block Jerusalem from becoming an international city. 
  • US support for the settlements would also offset the recent UNSC condemnation, Israel received.

 

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