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Daily Editorial: Understanding UN resolution against Israel settlements

  • Understanding UN resolution against Israel settlements

  1. What’s the dispute?

  2. What does Israel says?

  3. What do critics of settlements say?

  4. What’s the solution suggested by US?

  5. Implications of UN resolution

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Understanding UN resolution against Israel settlements

In 1967, Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip,the parts of Palestine that had been outside its control.
• Till 1967, there was no Israeli settlement in the west bank and Jerusalem.
• After 1967 six day war, Israeli government allowed some of the citizens to stay temporarily near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
• After that the settlements increased manifold, resulting into hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews now reside in the West Bank.
• Settlements at West Bank have increased from 100,000 in 1993 to 400,000 at present.
• They have grown under every Israeli government over the past half-century despite consistent international opposition.
• These settlements have been seen as one of the key obstacles to a peace agreement and the creation of a Palestinian state.
• The issue returned to the headlines last week when the United Nations Security Council voted 14 to 0 to condemn Israeli settlements.
• The UN Security Council resolution states that Israel’s settlement program has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

What’s the dispute?

  • After the 1967 war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank and had a population that was then entirely Palestinian.
  • Israel declared the entire city to be Israel’s “eternal and indivisible” capital.
  • No other country recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, with the United States and others saying the city’s status must be determined in negotiations.
  • Many in the international community believe that such settlements are illegal and a barrier to any future “two-state” peace deal.
  • The Palestinians, meanwhile, claim the eastern part of the city as their future capital.

What does Israel says?

Supporters of settlements cite many reasons to stay, like:-

  • Jewish Bible,
  • Thousands of years of Jewish history,
  • And Israel’s need for “strategic depth”
  • No claim of territory by Jordan.

What do critics of settlements say?

  • Critics of settlements say they’ve intentionally been established in every corner of the West Bank, giving the Israeli military a reason to be present throughout the territory.
  • The settlement locations and the roads that connect them make Palestinian movement difficult.
  • And as the settlements grow, it will be increasingly difficult to remove a large number of them, a tactic known as “creating facts on the ground.”

What’s the solution suggested by US?

John Kerry has suggested the Land Swamps approach to deal with the issue, which includes:-

  • The largest Jewish settlements, which are near the boundary with Israel, would formally become Israeli territory.
  • In exchange, Israel would turn over an equal amount of its current land that would become part of a Palestinian state.
  • In addition, settlements deep in the West Bank, far from Israel, would be disbanded.

Implications of UN resolution

  • Netanyahu has already declared that Israel will not abide by the terms of the resolution.
  • This resolution will not be able to stop Israel from constructing the settlements, but for the Palestinians, Resolution 2334 is a moral and a symbolic victory.

A precursor for taking Israel into ICC (International Criminal Court)

  • In January 2015, the ICC’s Prosecutor FatouBensouda opened a preliminary investigation into Israel’s actions during the 2014 bombing of Gaza and into the illegal settlements.
  • Ms. Bensouda has since made it clear that she would not move forward to a full criminal investigation without substantial political clarity from the UN Security Council.
  • Resolution 2334 produces the political will for such a move by the ICC.
  • With Palestine as a recognised state in the UN as of 2012, and as a member of the ICC since 2014, and with this resolution now in force, the ICC could move in the next few months to a rigorous investigation of Israeli criminality.
  • This would threaten the settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but it would also pressure Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in any future criminal bombardment of Gaza


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