(GPA) New York – In a surprising move, the United States today abstained from a vote in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the legality of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

With the passage of the measure introduced by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal the Israeli settlements in Palestine are officially recognized as being illegal and the UNSC has ordered a halt to construction. The measure was passed with 14 of the 15 members voting in favor.

The 15th member, the Us, surprisingly abstained after being urged by the pro-Israel lobby and president-elect Donald Trump to use their veto power to stop the measure.

The Israeli envoy to the UN, Danny Danon expressed “displeasure” with today’s vote but says Israel still remains confident with the upcoming appointment of a new UN general secretary as well as the approaching inauguration of Donald Trump, the self professed “friend of Israel.”

US representative to the UN, Samantha Power said the US cannot continue to “champion a two state solution and Israeli settlements,” and that “the settlements undermine Israel’s own security.” Many observers thought the vote would be delayed, possibly until after the inauguration in the US on January 20h after Egypt pulled their resolution’s text out yesterday.

This is a big win for those in the pro-Palestinian crowd but Danon says that the vote served as a “condemnation of the sole democracy in the Middle East.”



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