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Palestinians Ready Security Council Resolution Condemning Israeli Building

[News and Analysis] A U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli building on land it acquired in the 1967 war has been drafted and will be submitted for a vote. While the decision to turn to the U.N. is a public rebuke of American peace-making efforts, Israelis are concerned that this time a U.S. veto is not a foregone conclusion because the text of the measure closely echoes American policy and stops short of condemning Israel, the state. The Associated Press, which has obtained a copy of the resolution, reported that the text declares “settlements are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace.” State Department spokesman Mark Toner was critical of the resolution, saying that “any attempt to take final status issues to the Council as such efforts do not move us closer to our goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.” The Palestinian decision to turn to the United Nations will be costly to both the U.S. and Israel. If the White House fails to support a resolution so closely in synch with its own policies, its already tarnished role as inadequate interlocutor will be further denigrated amid charges that it bends over backwards for Israel. An American abstention might not be enough to prevent passage, in which case Israel’s actions in post-1967 territories will be exacerbated as the tacit flouting of a Security Council resolution and open the Jewish state to calls for sanctions. Successful outmaneuvering of the U.S. and Israel could also provide further encouragement for the Palestinian “Plan B” – turning to the U.N. General Assembly for declaration of statehood – while angering the American administration.