amid harsh Palestinian criticism of US;PA slams American ‘bias,’Ramallah protestors hold racist anti-US rally,refer to Obama by skin color
WASHINGTON – The United States vetoed the Palestinian proposal to condemn settlement construction by Israel at the United Nations Security Council Friday. The other 14 Council members voted in favor of the draft resolution. But the US, as one of the five permanent council members with the power to block any action by the Security Council, voted against it and struck it down….
…. Meanwhile, the Fatah movement organized a rally in Ramallah to support the Palestinian anti-settlement push and slam the US. The demonstration features racist elements, as protestors carried signs referring to Obama by his skin color, reading “Washington – the black hands support occupation and colonial thinking.”
The protestors lauded President Mahmoud Abbas for ignoring US pressure to withdraw the UN proposal.
Happy Good Shabbes … with seven minutes to spare!
In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council
U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N.
Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does
not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,”
a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger
Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.But
the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late
Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for
a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with
the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the
prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto
in the U.N. Security Council.Still,
the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of
the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and
joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key
ally to stop its construction of new settlements. The Palestinian
delegation, along with Lebanon, the Security Council’s only Arab
member state, have asked the council’s president this evening to
schedule a meeting for Friday. But it remained unclear whether the
Palestinian move today to reject the U.S. offer is simply a
negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from
E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the new
U.S. offer in a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Arab Group, a
bloc of Arab countries from North Africa and the Middle East. In
exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States
would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N.
Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and
commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel’s settlement
policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.The
U.S.-backed draft statement — which was first reported by Al
— was obtained by Turtle
In it, the Security Council “expresses its strong opposition to
any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the
outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the
international community, and reaffirms, that it does not accept the
legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a
serious obstacle to the peace process.” The statement also
condemns “all forms of violence, including rocket fire from
Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples.”U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council
diplomats confirmed the proposal. The Arab Group was scheduled to
meet this afternoon to formulate a formal response to the American
offer. Council diplomats said that the discussions were fluid and
that there was still the possibility that the U.S. draft would be
subject to further negotiations. They said it was also not yet
certain that the U.S. offer would satisfy the Arab Group, and that
the U.S. may be forced to veto the Palestinian resolution.U.S. officials argue that the only way to resolve the Middle East conflict
is through direct negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians.
For weeks, the Obama administration has refused to negotiate with the
Palestinians on a resolution condemning the settlements as illegal,
signaling that they would likely veto it if it were put to a vote.
The Palestinians were planning to put the resolution to a vote later
this week. But Security Council statements of the sort currently
under consideration are voted on the bases of consensus in the
15-nation council.The United States has, however, been isolated in the 15-nation council.
Virtually all 14 other member states are prepared to support the
Palestinian resolution, according to council diplomats. A U.N.
Security Council resolution generally carries greater political and
legal force than a statement from the council’s president.The U.S. concession comes as the Middle East is facing a massive wave of
popular demonstrations that have brought down the leaders of Tunisia
and Egypt and are posing a challenge to governments in Algeria,
Bahrain, and Iran.