Rabat – As the US faces international backlash over its position on Israeli settlements, the UN’s Security Council has added its voice to the dissenting chorus calling out the US’s support for Israel’s “illegal” and expansionist policies in the West Bank.
A recent report from AP recalled the talking points of a UNSC session on the Israel-Palestine conflict as being “dominated by negative reaction to the new American policy from countries representing all regions of the world who said all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.”
Before the UNSC meeting, the report revealed, five EU members of the UN body—Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Poland—jointly condemned what they described as “illegal” Israeli expansionism in the West Bank.
“All settlement activity is illegal,” the statement said. It also urged Israel to “end all settlement activity,” arguing that Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories “erode the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”
By the end of the UNSC meeting, 14 of the 15 member countries collectively condemned both Israeli settlements and the US’s standing in support of Israel. They raised concerns over Israel’s annexation of areas in the West Bank and called for more concerted efforts to ensure the rights of Palestinians in the territories.
The US, which was the only UNSC member country that did not the support the body’s collective push against Israel’s presence in the West Bank, stood by its unapologetically pro-Israel stance in the lingering territorial issue.
In addition to objecting to the UNSC statement on the illegality of Israeli settlements, the Trump administration suggested that the UNSC’s Israel-damning move was ultimately counterproductive. Condemnatory statements from world governments are uncalled for because, as far as the US administration is concerned, solving the deteriorating situation in the West Bank is up to Israel and Palestine.
“The U.S. government is expressing no view on the particular legal status of any individual settlement, nor are we addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank — that is for Israelis and Palestinians to decide,” said Cherith Norman Chalet, a US deputy ambassador at the UN.
The US’s declining status as a world power has been a consistent topic in recent years. The sentiment has grown stronger under President Trump, with many foreign affairs specialists arguing that many foreign policy moves by the Trump presidency, including the unapologetic support for Israel, will further undermine the US’s standing as a serious and reliable interlocutor in global discussions.
Meanwhile, even some pro-Israel voices have expressed cautious regret at the US’ support for Israeli settlements.
In a recent article for Foreign Policy, Michael Koplow, the policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, suggested that the Trump administration’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict is ultimately detrimental to Israeli interests. Koplow’s idea is that if the US and its Israeli ally continue to ignore international consensus, Palestine and its allies will also see no need to abide by those same international norms.
“If Israel and the United States successfully argue that international consensus on these matters is irrelevant, there will be nothing left to dissuade countries from unilaterally recognizing a sovereign state of Palestine on the 1949 armistice lines—something that Israeli governments have strenuously sought to avoid,” the article argued.