Emergency UNSC meeting on settlements

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This week's announcement by Israel of a further 1,000 homes beyond the 1967 line has led to an emergency UN Security Council meeting today.

Following a request by Jordan to the UN Security Council on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, an emergency meeting on the subject of continued Israeli settlement building is to take place today, with the news this week of a further 1000 settlement homes given the green light in East Jerusalem. Jordan’s foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, said that Israel’s continued settlement building beyond the 1967 line is “a slap in the face to international efforts to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians” and “a clear violation of Israel’s obligation as anchored in the peace treaty between the two countries.”

This unilateral action taken by Israel is continuing despite an on-going rift between Israel and the US on the issue, the latter stating that it is "unequivocally opposed" to Israeli settlement building and sees it as an obstacle to peace. It has today been reported that a senior Obama official called Netanyahu "chickenshit", a reference that he is too cowardly to risk losing political power, and thus continues to pander to the far right by settlement building.

Israeli MKs Tzipi Livni, Minister for Justice, and Yair Lapid, Minister for Finance, have both criticised the new settlement move, while Netanyahu claims that Jews have the right to build wherever they want in Jerusalem. Lapid this week described the on-going US-Israeli disputes as a "crisis". Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon was last week in the US for a five day tour, and was refused meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and national security advisor Susan Rice. Yaalon caused a stir earlier in the year, saying that Kerry should just be given the Nobel Prize and go home, calling him "obsessive" about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and believing himself to be "messianic". Yaalon's meeting with Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel went ahead so as "not to harm defence ties" said an American source.

Lapid stated that while he did not oppose settlement building, if it is seen as a provocation by the US then "we must stop", as it is endangering security ties between the two formerly close allies upon whom Israel heavily relies on. This summer, when Israel ran out of ammunition during operation Protective Edge, it was the US which refilled their stockpile. The US also approved a massive $225 million emergency loan to fund the Iron Dome as Hamas rockets were raining down on Israel. It seems a little counter-productive for Israel to continue measures which will knowingly further aggravate their now sour relationship with the US.