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In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council

February 18, 2011 Comments off

Posted By Colum Lynch

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familiar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama administration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.

The Palestinian delegation, along with Lebanon, the Security Council’s only Arab member state, asked the council’s president late Wednesday to Read more…