An edited version of this letter by Robin Rothfield has been published in The Australian, 28 December 2016:
I refer to the editorial and to Greg Sheridan’s piece on the UN Security Council resolution on Israel’s settlements (27/12.)
Both Republican and Democrat administrations in the US have, since 1967, opposed the construction of settlements on occupied Arab land. This opposition stems from the illegality of settlements under international law and is anchored in the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on an occupying power transferring its civilian population to territories it occupies.
But the Government of Israel has ignored world wide opposition and since the Oslo Accords of 1993 – which launched efforts that made a comprehensive and lasting peace possible – the number of settlers has increased by 355,000. Nearly 90,000 settlers are living east of the separation barrier that was created by Israel itself.
And to make matters even worse, legislation which would retroactively legalize illegal settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land has passed its first reading in the Knesset.
But despite this intransigence the Obama administration has continued to support Israel with 20 billion dollars in military aid since coming to office and in September a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to provide $38 billion in security assistance to Israel over the next 10 years – the largest single pledge of military assistance in U.S. history to any country.
The Obama administration’s decision not to veto the 23 December resolution in the Security Council condemning the settlements is long overdue.
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