Jewish Groups Ask Obama Not to Veto Settlements Resolution


WASHINGTON (JTA) — J Street and Americans for Peace Now called on President Obama to withhold a U.S. veto on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building.

In a policy statement posted Thursday on its website, J Street noted that for 40 years and across eight presidential administrations, the United States has called on Israel to stop building settlements

The resolution introduced this week in the Security Council condemns Israel’s continued settlement building and calls on Israel and the Palestinians to move to final status negotiations.

"These are sentiments that we share and that we believe a majority of Jewish Americans and friends of Israel share," the statement said.

"Barring that, we urge the Obama administration to put forward quickly, and with strong international support, its own bold, proactive diplomatic initiative, including ideas for establishing borders and security arrangements," it said, adding that
"By asserting clear leadership in a serious effort to reach a two-state resolution of the conflict, the United States can likely defer immediate consideration of this new resolution by the Security Council."

The resolution has 120 co-sponsors, mostly Arab and non-aligned nations. It will likely be voted on in the Security Council next month. Since the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council, its veto would quash the measure.

The content of the resolution "is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy regarding settlements, and explicitly supports negotiations and the two-state solution," Americans for Peace Now said in a statement, adding that "The context (of the resolution) is Israel’s dogmatic refusal to refrain from settlement activity that is destructive to peace and to Israel’s future."

APN said that vetoing the resolution would conflict with four decades of U.S. policy.

"It would contribute to the dangerously naive view that Israeli settlement policies do no lasting harm to Israel," the group said. "And it would send a message to the world that the U.S. is not only acquiescing to Israel’s actions, but is implicitly supporting them."

Former U.S. officials and policy writers in a letter sent Wednesday urged Obama to endorse the resolution.

A day earlier, a bipartisan slate of U.S. senators wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging her to quash the resolution, which it suggests dictates terms for a settlement.blasting Israel’s settlement policy and calling for a return to peace talks.