World Bulletin / News Desk
A UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement building in the occupied territories has won a showering praise in the Palestinian lands.
On Friday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding Israel to halt settlement building and expansion in the Palestinian territories.
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela, was passed by a 14-0 vote after the United States abstained.
"The move was an international and a unanimous condemnation of Israeli settlements and a strong support for the two-state solution,” the official Wafa news agency quoted Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as saying.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), described the vote as a “victory for security and peace”.
“It is one of the most important resolution adopted by the UN Security Council,” Saeb said in a Saturday statement.
“This is a historic day and a victory for international legitimacy and international law.”
Erekat said the UN resolution was a “clear message to Israel that the policies of settlement building, murder, terrorism and blockade will not achieve peace”.
“The only way [to achieve peace] is by the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and solving all outstanding issues,” he said.
Friday’s resolution was harshly criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described it as “anti-Israel” and “shameful”.
“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the U.N., it colluded with it behind the scenes,” he said, vowing that Israel will not comply with the resolution.
The last UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building was adopted in 1979.
The U.S. vetoed a similar resolution in 2011, which was the sole veto cast by the Obama administration.
Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi said the UN resolution was an “important document” on the path to peace.
“This is an important resolution taken by the UN Security Council against Israeli settlement construction,” she said in a statement.
She argued that settlements building amounted to a “war crime” under international law.
“Such a decision should have been taken a long time ago,” she said.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.
“We know that such decisions will not deter Israel,” Ashrawi said, “however, it shows that the world is not satisfied with the Israeli settlement expansion”.
Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, called for taking steps to end the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
“The resolution should be translated into practical steps to halt settlement building and end [Israeli] occupation,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told Anadolu Agency.
He went on to reiterate the right of the Palestinians to use “all forms of resistance” to end settlement building and halt “aggression of settlers”.