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UN settlements vote lauded, lambasted by Palestinians, Israelis

Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 01:33

Israel calls the UN vote calling for an end to settlements on occupied land ''shameful'' while Palestinians say it sets the world body on a ''new course.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Israel and the Palestinians reacted strongly on Friday (December 23) to the U.N. Security Council vote to adopt a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, defying pressure from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Israel and some U.S. lawmakers who urged Washington to wield its veto. An abstention by the United States paved the way for the 15-member council to approve the resolution, with 14 votes in favor, to a round of applause. The Obama administration's action broke with the long-standing American approach of shielding Israel, Washington's long-time ally that receives more than $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, from such action. The United States, along with Russia, France, Britain and China, has veto power on the council. The resolution, put forward by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from the Israel and Trump, was the first adopted by the council on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years. Israel and Trump had called on the Obama administration to veto the measure. Trump wrote on Twitter after the vote, "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," referring to the day he succeeds the outgoing President Barack Obama. The U.S. abstention was seen as a parting shot by Obama, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and who has made settlements a major target of peace efforts that have proven ultimately futile. The resolution demanded that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem" and said the establishment of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law." The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. The U.N. action sets the world body on "a new course," said the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour. However, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, called the vote, "shameful" and refuted descriptions of the Jewish settlements as illegal. The passage of the resolution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians and likely will be all but ignored by the incoming Trump administration. But it was more than merely symbolic. The resolution formally enshrined the international community's disapproval of Israeli settlement building and could spur further Palestinian moves against Israel in international forums. Trump, who called for a veto along with Netanyahu, is likely to be a more staunch supporter of Netanyahu's right-wing policies. He named a hardline pro-Israel ambassador and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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UN settlements vote lauded, lambasted by Palestinians, Israelis

Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 01:33