The Obama Administration on Friday finally allowed the UN Security Council to call on Israel to halt its settlement expansion on Friday. The resolution essentially re-states U.S. policy that settlement activity in the West Bank is illegal and counterproductive, and that Israel’s security must be protected.
The U.S. did not support the resolution, but it did not utilize its veto power either.
In a press call Friday afternoon, White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes explained that the White House abstained on the resolution because it “expresses a consensus international view on Israeli settlement activity.”
“We thought that we could not in good conscience veto a resolution that expressed concerns about the very trends that are eroding,” Rhodes explained. “A two-state solution.”
The resolution is toothless — it does not, for example, authorize any form of sanctions to compel Israel to respect international law. Yet prior to its passage, a long list of both Democrats and Republicans called on the administration to veto it, including President-elect Donald Trump, New York’s Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Wisconsin-based House Speaker Paul Ryan: