May 15, 2018 / 6:07 AM / 10 days ago

Two-thirds of U.N. Security Council upset by non-implementation of Mideast resolution

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Two-thirds of the United Nations Security Council expressed “profound concern” on Monday that a 2016 resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building on land that Palestinians want for an independent state was not being implemented.

A letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from 10 members of the 15-member council coincided with the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since 2014. Israeli troops fatally shot dozens of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border as the Trump administration opened the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

“The Security Council must stand behind its resolutions and ensure they have meaning; otherwise, we risk undermining the credibility of the international system,” wrote Bolivia, China, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru and Sweden in the letter seen by Reuters.

A month before U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, with 14 votes in favor and one abstention by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. Trump had denounced the resolution and called for the United States to wield its veto.

U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov reported to the Security Council last year that Israel was flouting the demand for an end to settlements, while both parties were ignoring a call to stop provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.

The signatories to the letter said they were writing “to express our profound concern about the lack of implementation” of the resolution.

The 10 Security Council members also asked Guterres on Monday to start submitting his quarterly reports on the implementation of the resolution in writing instead of orally.

“While there may sometimes be legitimate reasons for oral reports, they should be reserved for exceptional circumstances,” the council members wrote.

The resolution also “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital. Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future independent state of their own.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East War, to be occupied territory, including the Old City, home to sites considered holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.

The U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem fulfilled a pledge by Trump, who in December recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Peter Cooney

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