UN Security Council 'to vote on Israel settlements expansion on Monday' amid international condemnation of Netanyahu government's plans

UN Security Council 'to vote on Israel settlements expansion on Monday' amid international condemnation of Netanyahu government's plans
The UN Security Council will likely vote on a text that would demand Israel stop building new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
3 min read
16 February, 2023
Israeli settlements, built on stolen Palestinian land, are illegal under international law [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

The UN Security Council will likely vote on Monday on a resolution that would demand Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory,” according to multiple media reports. 

The draft was written by the United Arab Emirates in coordination with the Palestinians, according to diplomats. 

This comes as Israel’s right-wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu approved nine new settlements in the occupied West Bank and announced the construction of dozens of homes on existing settlements. 

In response, US Secretary of State issued a statement along with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom saying: "We are deeply troubled by the Israeli government’s announcement that it is advancing nearly 10,000 settlement units and intends to begin a process to normalize nine outposts that were previously deemed illegal under Israeli law. We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution."

Last week, a statement from Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionism party said that Israel would not stop building new settlements. "There will be no construction freeze in Judea and Samaria - period," the statement read, using the Zionist term for the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlements are built on Palestinian land annexed by force and are illegal under international law.

Live Story

US officials have tried to convince Palestinians not to push for a vote at the Security Council, according to Axios, which the Palestinians have refused. 

If passed, the draft will condemn Israel’s attempts at annexing Palestinian territory, and "reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law."

It is likely the United States will veto the vote if it is not amended, to protect Israel.

Israel’s new right-wing government has encouraged more settler activity in the occupied West Bank and further emboldened extremists to attack Palestinian individuals and families. Israeli forces have carried out near-daily raids against the Palestinians this year, and have killed at least 50 Palestinians in 2023.

This comes on the back of over two hundred Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank in 2022, making it the deadliest year in the occupied territory since the UN began keeping records in 2005.