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Hamas slams UN watered-down statement on Israeli settlement expansion

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has criticized the UN Security Council (UNSC) for its watered-down statement in place of a draft resolution to explicitly condemn Israeli illegal settlement expansion plans, slamming the world body's weakness and frailty vis-à-vis Tel Aviv's crimes and plots.

The Hamas condemnation comes after the UNSC fell short of passing a resolution, which would have demanded the regime put an end to its illegal settlement activities.

Hamas said that the withdrawal of a UN Security Council resolution on settlements shows the organ has evaded the responsibilities devolved upon it under international conventions and principles.

The movement called on the international community, the Security Council in particular, to adopt deterrent and tough measures against the occupying Tel Aviv regime and its settlement expansion policies, and do not simply suffice to voicing worries and condemnations.

The UN Security Council issued a symbolic statement on Monday, approved by all 15 members of the council, denouncing Israeli plans to expand illegal settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories. It also warned that such measures would “impede peace” and inhibit the so-called two-state solution.

UN Security Council issues anti-Israel statement, says settlements 'impede peace'

The council expressed its “dismay” with plans by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line cabinet, which seeks further construction and expansion of settlements and the legalization of settlement outposts on private Palestinian land.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines,” said Vanessa Frazier, the permanent representative of Malta to the United Nations.

“The Security Council expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on February 12,” Frazier added, referring to the date when Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet gave authorization to the erection of nine settler outposts in the occupied West Bank.

Last week, the UNSC appeared set to vote on a draft resolution that would have demanded Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Draft UN resolution urges Israel to ‘immediately’ end illegal settlement expansions

But reports by several US and Israeli news outlets, citing diplomatic sources, later said the Palestinian Authority (PA) agreed to drop its pursuit of the vote amid pressure from the US government.

The Reuters news agency said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had drafted the resolution along with Palestinian Authority officials, informed the UN Security Council that the resolution and vote would be dropped.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Latin American states blast Israeli plan for nine new settlements in occupied West Bank

The international community views the settlements – hundreds of which have been built across the West Bank since Tel Aviv’s occupation of the territory in 1967 – as illegal under international law and the Geneva Conventions due to their construction on the occupied territories.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions. The regime’s unabated construction campaign comes while the Palestinians have historically demanded that the West Bank serve as part of their future state with East al-Quds, which is located inside the territory, as its capital.

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