U.S. Vetoes Resolution Condemning 'Settlements'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The U.S. has vetoed a U.N. resolution condemning so-called Israeli settlements and demanding a halt to construction.

The U.S. had expressed objections to the resolution, but the U.N. Security Council still moved forward with it, with all 14 other members voting for the condemnation. 

The resolution was submitted by Arab states and the Palestinian Authority that condemns Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - as "illegal."

'Not an Option' 

Earlier, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said "giving up support of Israel at the Security Council is not an option. The U.S. must veto the resolution and clearly state that we will not support these means to undermine the peace process."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called Abbas earlier this week, said bringing the matter to the Security Council was counterproductive to the peace process.

"We have consistently over many years said that the United Nations Security Council - and resolutions that would come before the Security Council - is not the right vehicle to advance the goal," Clinton told reporters.

The vote would also have meant re-dividing Jerusalem.

In a recent interview with CBN News, former Ambassador Dore Gold explained that returning to the 1949 armistice lines would leave the Jewish state with indefensible borders.

"When someone says they recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines, what they're talking about is rolling Israel back so it will not have defensible borders. It will have to go back to the armistice lines of 1949 from which it was attacked. These were never international borders," Gold said.

"Rolling Israel back to the 1967 lines means re-dividing Jerusalem. It means putting the entire Old City, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, [and] the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Palestinian territory," he said.

Obama's Tough Position

Most analysts say Obama is finding himself between a rock and a hard place with his support for the Palestinians versus increasing opposition over his lack of support for Israel.

After nearly an hour-long discussion by phone Thursday evening, President Barack Obama failed to convince P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas that the Security Council is not the appropriate venue for the "settlement issue."

Obama had offered instead to support a "non-binding" statement from the Security Council condemning "settlement activity," along with a package of diplomatic incentives. Those incentives included increased pressure on Israel to cease all "settlement construction," including Jerusalem neighborhoods, and support for a solidarity visit by Security Council members to the "West Bank."

The U.S. administration also agreed to support a statement the Quartet - U.S., E.U., U.N. and Russia - plans to issue next month advocating the establishment of a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders, an unacceptable solution for Israel.

Lack of Support

Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, said the Obama administration "has shown an astonishing unwillingness to stand by Israel at the United Nations, an organization with a long history of blaming Israel for every problem in the Middle East."

"It's time for our U.N. ambassador to finally show some leadership, draw a line in the sand, and defend our historic ally," he said.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs said Obama needs to "change course, stand unequivocally with Israel, and publicly pledge to block any anti-Israel U.N. Security Council action."

"Support for this anti-Israel statement is a major concession to the enemies of the Jewish state and other free democracies," their statement read. "It telegraphs that the U.S. can be bullied into abandoning critical democratic allies and core U.S. principles."

AP contributed to this report.

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