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U.S. opposes anti-settlement resolution

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States opposes efforts to pass a U.N. Security Council resolution against Jewish West Bank settlements, a State Department spokesman said.

At the same time, the administration does "not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," the spokesman, Mark Toner, said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters.

The Palestinian Authority is currently working on a draft of a resolution that would ask the Security Council to condemn Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, as illegal and an obstacle to peace, according to reports. The resolution could be presented to the Security Council in early 2011.

"We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and, in fact, we believe continued expansion is corrosive to peace efforts, as well as to Israel’s future," Toner said. "We believe, fundamentally, that direct negotiations are the only path through which the parties will ultimately reach the framework agreement that is our goal, our mutual goal.

"And final status issues can only be resolved through negotiations between the parties and not by recourse to the U.N. Security Council, so we’ve consistently opposed any attempt to take these kinds of issues to the Council, because we believe that these kinds of efforts don’t move us any closer to our goal, which is of two states living side by side in peace and security," he added.

Toner declined to say specifically whether the United States would veto such a resolution. A resolution that does not call for sanctions could result in the United States not using its veto, according to reports.

The Associated Press reported that it has obtained a draft copy of the resolution. The AP reported that the resolution will ask the Security Council to reaffirm that "the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

The resolution also reiterates the Palestinian’s demand that Israel, "the occupying power, immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard.”

It also urges "the intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East," according to the AP.

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