U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements
It is the stated position of the Obama administration that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are a violation of international law and a barrier to the peace process (such as it is). Nevertheless, the U.S. stood alone in opposition to a Security Council resolution to that effect today.
The Obama administration could have chosen to abstain from the vote, but the US exercised its veto instead. The resolution got 14 votes of support from the 15-member council.
Phyllis Bennis, an analyst with the Institute for Policy Studies, writes that this was a case in which even a veto is a victory for the Palestinians' cause.
Sometimes a Security Council votes can mean a victory for human rights no matter which side wins. Today’s vote on a resolution mildly condemning Israeli settlement activity is one example. If the U.S. had voted for the resolution, or even abstained and allowed others to pass it, it would have strengthened the international opposition to the Israeli occupation, and perhaps helped set the stage for greater UN and international engagement in ending the Israeli occupation and challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and other violations of human rights. It would have been a great victory.
But instead, the U.S. vetoed the resolution – the vote was 14 to 1, with no abstentions. On this issue once again, the U.S. stood absolutely isolated. And ironically, that was a victory too. Because the unity of other countries – Britain, Russia, Brazil and others spoke after the vote, expressing stronger than usual support for the anti-settlement resolution, and referencing (Britain most strongly) their recognition of a Palestinian state that may be declared in September -- shows the limits of US control over the "peace process" and may lead to a far greater level of international engagement.