TEHRAN, Jan. 01 (Press Shia) – In a rare and earth-shattering step, the UN Security Council on December 23 voted in favor of a resolution bringing an end to settlement activity by Zionist regime on occupied Palestinian territory with the United States particularly abstaining.

Adopted by 14 votes in favor and one abstention, the resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US president-elect Donald Trump.

The UNSC approved the resolution after the US refused to veto it, reversing its longstanding policy of shielding Israel from condemnatory resolutions at the world body.

The significant move by the Security Council came regardless of an endeavor led by Zionist regime and supported by Trump to hinder the passage.

”Big Loss”:

US President-elect Donald Trump reacted after the vote and said UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution censuring Israel for its illegal settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territories was a “big loss” for the regime.

Trump also promising change at the world body after he takes office next month. “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” he tweeted.

“The big loss for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” Trump twitted.

Last year, Trump said that he wanted to be ‘‘very neutral’’ on Israel-Palestinian issues, however, he adopted a more pro-Israel approach as the presidential campaign progressed.

He made disparaging remarks about Palestinians, claiming they have been ‘‘taken over’’ by militants.

Following the vote, Republican lawmakers and politicians criticized President Barack Obama over his refusal to veto the resolution.

The passage of the “resolution on Israeli settlements marks another shameful chapter in the bizarre anti-Israel history of the United Nations,” said Arizona Senator John McCain in a statement.

“No Legal Validity”:

The first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years indicated that Tel Aviv regime’s settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, have “no legal validity”.

The resolution demanded a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities”, saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution”.

According to Aljazeera, some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently are residing in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in occupied East Beit-ul Moqaddas, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.

Earlier this month, Israeli lawmakers approved a hugely-controversial bill legalizing some 4,000 settler units built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, in the first of three readings needed to turn it into law, Press TV wrote.

The US, UN and European Union have strongly criticized the bill.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned a new bill proposed by Israeli lawmakers that would legalize some 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying the measure is against “international law”.

Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the bill “runs contrary to international law and regulations especially the international human rights and international humanitarian law, and those who take such actions violate the international rights and should be prosecuted.”

The move violates the Palestinians’ right to determine their destiny, the Foreign Ministry official added.

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein strongly criticized the settlement bill.

“Israel as the occupying power, must respect the private property of Palestinians, regardless of whether or not compensation is provided,” Guardian quoted him as saying in a statement.

He also said, “All Israeli settlements – whether outposts built without formal approval but often with the support of the Israeli authorities and which are currently illegal under Israeli law, or settlements approved by Israel – are clearly and unequivocally illegal under international law and constitute one of the main obstacles to peace.”

Over half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Beit-ul Moqaddas.

‘Big blow’ to Israel

Reacting to the passage of the resolution, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the passage of the resolution as “a significant step, demonstrating the council’s much needed leadership and the international community’s collective efforts to reconfirm that the vision of two states is still achievable”.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s office said the vote was “a big blow” to Israeli policy and a show of “strong support for the two-state solution”.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on Saturday welcomed the landmark vote, saying it marked an “important evolution”.

“Hamas appreciates the position of the countries that voted in the Security Council for the right of the Palestinian people (to live) on their land,” said Hamas spokesman, Fawzy Barhoum.

“We salute this important evolution in international positions,” he said, while calling for more such actions to bring about “the end of the occupation”.

The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

Purely Symbolic Gesture:

John Steppling an author and commentator believes the anti-Israeli settlement resolution is absolutely “toothless” and a “purely symbolic gesture”, adding that Israel does not care at all about what the United Nations says.

“So yes, it is a tiny, infinitesimal, symbolic victory but it has no relevance, there is no sanction mechanisms attached to it, there is no penalty, and Israel will ignore it as they usually ignore things they do not like,’ Steppling said.

Press TV quoted Steppling as saying that Tel Aviv has no intention of ever stopping its land grabbing and wants all Palestinians gone, which is likely to occur with the election of Donald Trump and the nomination of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel. 

He went on to say the fear right now is that Trump may turn out to be the most pro-Israeli president in history, and that with the appointment of David Friedman, Israel will have “carte blanche”.

Steppling further opined that the anti-Israeli settlement resolution will only allow the recognition of the world condemnation of Israel. 

He also argued the reason why the US did not veto this resolution has to be seen in the light of President Barack Obama’s lame duck period and the defeat of the US proxy war in Syria. 

According to the commentator, it is time to stop euphemistically describing an “incremental genocide” against Palestinians, asserting that there is no justification for any of these Israeli settlements that are growing more rapidly than ever.

For sure, the resolution’s immediate impact appears to be largely symbolic, but Zionist regime worries it could unfasten the door to an increase in international steps, including economic measures. Much of the international community considers the settlements illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.