Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Blog
In a show of seriousness about achieving a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Barack Obama kicked off his Presidency with a demand for a complete halt in Israel’s settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories. Settlement expansion is not only illegal under international law, but it also impedes the peace process by undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and, as such, continues in opposition to long-standing stated US policy. In the words of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change. Like every American administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.
Despite diplomatic pressure and generous economic and military incentives, the Obama Administration has failed to get Israel to cease its unlawful expansion of settlements. The Palestinians are now turning to the United Nations Security Council, seeking a resolution reaffirming the illegality of settlements and condemning their continued expansion as an obstacle to peace. Lebanon recently introduced a resolution to that effect, although the Obama Administration’s first public response to it has not been positive, bringing whether the U.S. will allow the resolution to pass into question. Since then, the U.S. has demonstrated some level of flexibility by offering to vote for a softer resolution opposing continued settlement expansion, but that resolution doesn't go far enough, and the original resolution is still expected to come up for a vote soon (possibly tomorrow).
The U.S. cannot veto this resolution, which reflects its public position on settlements as well as international law's, without undermining its credibility as an honest broker in the peace process. Contact the Obama Administration today and urge them to vote in favor of this resolution.