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Egypt delays U.N. resolution aimed at Israeli settlements

By Eric DuVall
Egypt delays U.N. resolution aimed at Israeli settlements
President-elect Donald Trump called Thursday for the United States to veto a proposed U.N. resolution opposing the building of more settlements by Israelis on Palestinian land. Trump said the twp sides should be able to negotiate without international interference. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Egypt on Thursday asked to delay a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at halting Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian land after President-elect Donald Trump called for the measure to be vetoed.

The resolution, drafted by Egypt and opposed by the Israelis, calls existing Israeli settlements a "flagrant violation" of international law, though it stops short of saying they should be dismantled.

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The U.N. Security Council had been set to vote on the resolution Thursday before Egypt pulled the measure, saying they would wait until a meeting of the Arab League to discuss how to proceed. Haaeretz reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose nation deeply opposes outside interference in the Palestinian dispute, personally lobbied Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to pull the resolution.

In a statement, Trump said the United Nations should not place terms on either side, but rather let the Israelis and Palestinians sort it out.

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"As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations," Trump said. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."

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The resolution states future settlements would represent a potentially impossible strain on a two-state solution to the long-running conflict.

The resolution says the "cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution" and "for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground."

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The resolution comes days after U.N. Security Council member France announced the postponement of a peace conference aimed at renewing interest in a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel strongly opposed the conference, repeating its call for unilateral negotiations with the Palestinians without the involvement of the international community. The French government said the conference was not meant to supplant such talks, but instead keep interest in the issue of peace negotiations from waning.

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