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Saturday, December 24, 2016, 11:42

US lets UN denounce Israeli settlements

By Xinhua

US lets UN denounce Israeli settlements
In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on  Dec 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday the United States let pass a UN resolution demanding Israel stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory to preserve the possibility of the two state solution.

The 15-nation council reaffirms the Israeli settlement activities have "no legal validity" and constitute a flagrant violation under international law

"That future is now in jeopardy, with terrorism, violence and incitement continuing and unprecedented steps to expand settlements being advanced by avowed opponents of the two state solution," said Kerry in a statement.

"That is why we cannot in good conscience stand in the way of a resolution at the United Nations that makes clear that both sides must act now to preserve the possibility of peace," he added.

The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution urging Israel to cease all settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territory.

The 15-nation council reaffirms the Israeli settlement activities have "no legal validity" and constitute a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel.

As one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States has veto power and has shielded Israel from UN reproaches in the past.

This time 14 council members voted in favor with the United States abstained from voting.

US lets UN denounce Israeli settlements
This May 17, 2016 file photo shows construction on land owned by Palestinian Mohammad Abu Ta'a, in east Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution in a statement released by his spokesperson.

"The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with the international community to create a conducive environment for a return to meaningful negotiations," it said.

Israel rejected the resolution, which it said was "despicable".

A fierce statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel "will not subordinate itself" to "this absurd" resolution.

The office also accused US President Barack Obama of "acting behind the scene" to advance the motion, a notion previously rejected by the White House.

"Israel is looking forward to working with president-elect Trump and our friends in the Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to undo the damages of this decision," the statement read.

In abstaining during the vote, the U.S. ignored calls from Trump to veto the motion.

In a tweet after the vote, Trump wrote: "As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th."

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