December 22, 2016 - 13:59 AMT
UN to vote on Israel settlements in Palestinian territories

The UN Security Council will vote on Thursday, December 22 on an Egyptian-drafted resolution demanding that Israel immediately halt its settlement activities in the Palestinian territories and east Jerusalem, AFP reports.

A similar resolution was vetoed by the United States in 2011, and it remained uncertain if the measure would be adopted this time.

Egypt circulated the draft late Wednesday and a vote was scheduled for 3 pm (2000 GMT) on Thursday.

Israeli settlements are seen as major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal and has repeatedly called on Israel to halt them, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the United States to use its veto to block the measure.

"The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday," Netanyahu tweeted.

The draft resolution demands that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

It states that Israeli settlements are "dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution" that would see an independent state of Palestine co-exist alongside Israel.

The text stresses that halting settlements was "essential for salvaging the two-state solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground."