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Palestinians Outraged Over US Veto Protecting Israeli Theft of Palestinian Lands

US Vetoes UN Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlement Expansion

Saturday February 19, 2011 11:31 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

Illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa constructed on stolen land of Palestinian village of Beit Sahour file 20feb11im

Despite claims by US President Barack Obama that his administration is opposed to Israel's further takeover of land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for colonial settlements, the US representative to the United Nations Security Council vetoed a resolution Friday that would have opposed Israeli settlement expansion.

The resolution had the support of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the 14 other member states of the UN Security Council, but the US, which holds a permanent seat and veto power in the Security Council, used its veto power to prevent the resolution from going into effect.

This resolution called Israeli settlements in the West Bank 'illegal', and condemned thse settlements as an 'obstacle to peace'. Despite the fact that US President Barack Obama has himself called the settlements 'an obstacle to peace', and called on Israel to stop the expansion of land takeovers, the US prevented the resolution from passing.

An advisor to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that US officials were on the phone with the Palestinian President for nearly an hour on Thursday, trying to convince him to accept some concessions and aid packages in exchange for dropping the resolution at the UN. The Palestinian President refused to back down on the resolution, which was then sent forward for a vote on Friday.

Abbas' advisor Nabil Abu Rdainah told reporters, "The American veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue settlements, and to escape the obligations of the peace process."

Since 1993, when Israeli officials agreed in the Oslo Accords to stop building settlements in the West Bank, more than 200 settlements have been created or expanded, and over 300,000 Israeli civilians have been transferred into colonial settlements constructed on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Currently, over 500,000 Israelis live in settlements constructed on Palestinian land occupied by Israel since 1967. The other 4.5 million Israelis live on land that was confiscated from Palestinians in 1948 for the creation of the state of Israel.

Abbas protests US veto

Published today (updated) 20/02/2011 15:00 BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --

MaanImages/Thaer Ganaim, Pool

President Mahmoud Abbas attends a protest march in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 18, 2011.

Demonstrations broke out across the West Bank when US President Barack Obama's administration vetoed a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

Abbas pursued the motion despite a last minute personal appeal from Obama to abandon the resolution.

After vetoing the resolution US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told reporters the move should not be "seen as an endorsement of Israel's settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced."

Abbas keen on relations with the US despite its bias in favor of Israel

[ 20/02/2011 - 11:27 AM ]


De facto president Mahmoud Abbas insisted on his relations with the US despite the blow dealt to him by Washington last night, when the latter used the right of veto over a UN security council's resolution against Israel's settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian lands.

Abbas said his authority would never boycott the American administration despite its bias in favor of Israel.

The resolution garnered 14 votes in the 15-member council.

In another context, director of the chamber of commerce and industry in occupied Jerusalem Azzam Abu Assaud said the Fatah-controlled Palestinian authority (PA) and its de facto government did not give due importance to Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

Abu Assaud affirmed that in a speech during a symposium on Jerusalem held Saturday in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

He stressed that the PA and successive government had provided the Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem with only four percent of the budgets allocated for them so far.

The Palestinian official also noted that the PA ministry of religious affairs does not take care at all of the Aqsa Mosque, especially the Dome of Rock, while the Jews are embarking on Judaizing the holy city through a number of steps including the seizure of Palestinian property and real estate.

Fat'h official: UN veto will harm US strategic interests

Published today (updated) 20/02/2011 15:00 BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --

The US veto of a Palestinian anti-settlement bid at the UN served America's short-term goals but would harm its strategic interests, senior Fatah official Mohammad Shtayyeh said Saturday.

The party's Central Committee member told Ma'an that by torpedoing the UN resolution condemning illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian lands, that the US contradicted its declared support for change and democracy in the Arab world.

The Palestinian decision to pursue the motion in the General Assembly under a provision set up during the Cold War stemmed from "free feelings and free Arab feelings," Shayyeh said.

The US veto proved President Barack Obama's administration was powerless to exert pressure on Israel, the former minister said, adding that Washington lost a historic opportunity to prove to the Arab world and the international community that it was impartial and moderate.

President Mahmoud Abbas pursued the motion despite a last minute personal appeal from Obama to abandon the resolution.

After vetoing the resolution US Ambassador to the UN Sustan Rice told reporters the move should not be "seen as an endorsement of Israel's settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced."

Asked whether he thought the US would cut off financial support to the Palestinian Authority following Abbas' refusal of the request, Shtayyeh noted that Washington had threatened to withdraw aid several times in the past.

Shtayyeh said that when Abbas asked Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to form a government, the US threatened sanctions. When the president agreed to reconcile with Hamas, the US once again said it would cancel financial support, he added. Washington warned it would cut off funding a third time when Abbas participated in the 2008 Arab League summit in Damascus, according to the PA official.

However, the PA's decisions would continue to be guided by the interests of the people and the Palestinian cause, he said, adding that Israel and the US had been publicly exposed.

From now on, Shtayyeh said, it would be difficult for the US to convince the Arab street that it supported democracy.

"As for threatening to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, I believe that will help neither US nor Israeli interests. I think they just try to put the PA under pressure."

Commenting on the PA's calls to finalize reconciliation with Hamas, Shtayyeh confirmed that the PA leadership was seriously urging Hamas to take the opportunity and join in on elections.

"Polls will be the gate to achieve national unity and we still prefer that Egypt sponsors reconciliation regardless of who the new Egyptian leadership will be," he added. Shtayyeh noted that Egypt has supported the Palestinian cause since the days of Jamal Abdul-Nasser.

Ma'an asked Shtayyeh whether there had been any contact between PA officials and Qatar since the Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera published leaked PLO documents. Several high-level PLO officials accused Qatari leaders of using the channel to push an anti-PA agenda.

"As far as I know, there have been no contacts, and Al-Jazeera has incited against Palestinian leaders," Shtayyeh said.

"We had no problem with the revelation of the papers, but we wondered why Qatar was inciting against us," he added.

Abbas issued a decree on February 13 banning local media and officials from slandering the emir of Qatar and the emirate's government.

Shtayyeh said the directive was issued in the interest of protecting Arab unity, and noted that officials had complied with the order and stopped criticizing Qatar and "its Al-Jazeera."

Ghassan Al-Masri: US veto 'diplomatic terrorism'

Published today (updated) 20/02/2011 16:00

The US veto of a UN anti-settlement resolution was "diplomatic terrorism," former PLO spokesman Ghassan Al-Masri said Sunday.

The US on Friday torpedoed a Palestinian bid for a UN resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity. The other 14 member states of the Security Council voted in favor of the motion.

President Mahmoud Abbas pushed forward a vote on the resolution despite a last-minute personal appeal from US President Barack Obama urging him to abandon the effort.

Al-Masri said both the veto of the resolution and Obama's attempt to dissuade Palestinians from pursuing international law were forms of diplomatic terrorism, both of which failed, he added.

The veto revealed the true intentions of US foreign policy, and undermined what remained of Washington's credibility as a sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Al-Masri said.

Further, he said it highlighted that Obama was strategically allied with the settlement policies of Israel's occupation, and demonstrated that the president's declared support for a two-state solution was false.

The move would increase hostility toward the US on the Arab street, which is rising up for freedom and democracy, Al-Masri said.

The former PLO official appealed to Abbas to reassess his approach to negotiations, and to reconsider the Palestinian people's demands, which he said called for restructuring the components of national unity within the internationally recognized PLO.

He also called for the PLO to have a greater role in leading the people, and to form more strategic relations within the Arab world.

He also said the PLO should take the lead and seek strategic relations between the Palestinians and the Arab world, as well as taking advantage of the changes sweeping the region.

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