By Rakesh Raman
Earlier, as the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump had criticized United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution about the establishment of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.
But now as the President, Trump believes that the construction of Israeli settlements may hamper the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal,” the White House said in a statement released Thursday.
The statement, however, added that the Trump Administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he meets with President Trump later this month.
The Security Council resolution decrees that the Israeli settlements have no legal validity, and they constitute a flagrant violation under international law.
The resolution also observed that the settlements are a major obstacle to a two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
But in December last year, Trump had not welcomed the Security Council’s decision, as he had said that it will be a big loss for Israel. Trump also had said in a vague statement that we (perhaps the Trump Administration) will get it done.
But Thursday’s statement from the White House shows a change in stance for Trump, as he seems to have agreed with the Security Council’s decision.
Earlier, before the Security Council meeting, Trump had stated that the resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed.
But instead of vetoing the resolution, the Obama Administration had abstained from it which cleared the way to the adoption of resolution that condemned Israeli settlements.
The 15-member Council had adopted the resolution by a vote of 14 in favour and with one abstention – the United States abstained from the vote. The resolution had been put forward by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, and Venezuela.
In the resolution, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard.”
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