United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 was adopted on 23 December 2016. It concerns the Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem”. The resolution states that Israel′s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demands that Israel stops such activity and fulfills its obligation as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
It was the first UNSC resolution to pass regarding Israel and Palestine since 2009, and the first to address the issue of Israeli settlements with such specificity since Resolution 465 in 1980.
While the resolution did not include any sanction or coercive measure and was adopted under non-binding Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, Israeli newspaper Haaretz stated it “may have serious ramifications for Israel in general and specifically for the settlement enterprise” in the medium-to-long term.
Despite high pressures to avoid the vote, the resolution passed with the support of 14 of the 15 members of the Council; the United States, which has veto power, abstained. The text was welcomed by the international community in the following days.
In response, the government of Israel retaliated with a series of diplomatic actions against some members of the Security Council and accusations against Obama’s administration to have secretly orchestrated the passage of the resolution. Palestine’s representatives stated this was an opportunity to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line.
In February 2011, during Barack Obama’s first administration, the US used its veto power to block a similar UN Security Council resolution and settlement activity has grown substantially. At least 100,000 settlers have been added since Obama took office, and The Quartet report in July 2016 said that 570,000 Israelis lived in the settlements. Prior to voting on the resolution, diplomats predicted that US frustration with the growth of settlements, as well as the poor relationship between President Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, might cause the US to abstain, rather than veto the resolution. Netanyahu was confident that Israel’s diplomatic standing was on the rise, and that the world was no longer very interested in the Palestinian issue.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2016: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, what I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN. Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic state of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet. And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined? As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel, where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as speaker of the Knesset and prime minister. And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe, but UNESCO just denied the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China. Ladies and Gentlemen: The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well, think again. You see, everything will change, and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.
Netanyahu was absolutely correct when he said – So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well, think again. You see, everything will change, and a lot sooner than you think.
Netanyahu does not represent the betterment of the Jewish people. The occupation has cost Israel $50 billion and jeopardizes the welfare of a nation.
Resolution 2334 also “underlines” that the UN Security Council “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”; and “calls” upon all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
There are up to 196 illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, in addition to hundreds of settler outposts. These settlements host up to 600,000 Jewish settlers, who were moved there in violation of international law and, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Jerusalem municipality had announced that 300 housing units will be built in the illegal settlements of Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Bit Hanina while the Security Council members were preparing for the vote on the “legal invalidity” of the Jewish settlements.
Thank you for the courage of the following countries:
The Council is composed of 15 Members:
- five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States,
- and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date):
- Angola (2016)
- Egypt (2017)
- Japan (2017)
- Malaysia (2016)
- New Zealand (2016)
- Senegal (2017)
- Spain (2016)
- Ukraine (2017)
- Uruguay (2017)
- Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (2016)