Israel says UN settlement rebuke denies Jews' 'historic rights'

Israel says UN settlement rebuke denies Jews' 'historic rights'
The statement "should never have been made and the United States should never have joined it," Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Monday.
2 min read
21 February, 2023
Netanyahu condemned the UN statement despite it being watered down from the original proposal [Getty images]

Israel denounced Monday a "one-sided" UN statement condemning its so-called "legalisation" of settlements in the occupied West Bank, and deplored US support for the text that ignores what it called the "historic" rights of the Jewish people.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a watered-down statement strongly opposing Israel’s continued construction and expansion of settlements on Monday.

"The UN Security Council has issued a one-sided statement which denies the rights of Jews to live in our historic homeland", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

The presidential statement does not condemn Israeli settlement activity or demand a halt. It does condemn “all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terrorism". 

The UN statement "fails to mention the Palestinian terror attacks" in which Israelis were killed in recent weeks", Netanyahu claimed, saying it "should never have been made and the United States should never have joined it".

The vote came after high-stakes negotiations by the Biden administration succeeded in derailing a legally binding resolution that would have demanded a halt to Israeli settlement activity.

The Palestinian-backed draft resolution was the subject of frantic talks by senior Biden administration officials including Secretary of States Antony Blinken with Palestinian, Israeli and United Arab Emirates leaders.

Those discussions culminated in a deal Sunday to forego it in favour of a weaker presidential statement that is not legally binding, according to multiple diplomats familiar with the situation.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The United Nations and most of the international community consider Israeli settlements illegal and an obstacle to ending the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem in violation of international law.