WASHINGTON – A UN Security Council meeting scheduled to take place Thursday night in order to discuss the Middle East was postponed due to an appeal by Russia, which is one of the five permanent members of the council. The reason given by the Russian delegation was the European Championship game between their home country and Spain, airing on Thursday night.
The UN told the press about the postponement without giving a reason, but diplomatic sources revealed to Ynet that the soccer game was indeed the motive behind the delay. The postponed meeting is a regular monthly one of no special significance, during which the council members are given a report about the situation in the Middle East comprised of the events reported on by the media.
However Arab countries planned to utilize the upcoming meeting in order to file for an official debate about the ongoing construction in West Bank settlements. The Lybian delegation, the Arab countries' current representative in the council, plans to file a draft proposing a decision to condemn the Israeli settlements and call on Israel to cease construction.
The wording of the draft has not yet been published, but the Arab delegation has been encouraged by worldwide responses to their claims, including that of the European delegation, expressing outrage at Israel's insistence in continuing construction despite the Road Map and the Quartet's stance on the matter.
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour stated that the Arab group decided unanimously to file the appeal with the UN, but that the discussion on the matter would only take place next week, in the beginning of July, or when the US completes its office as head of the Security Council.
Mansour said the Arab delegation, which includes representatives from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mauritania, and the Palestinians, met recently with members of the council and received "general support" for the proposal.
The US also responded angrily to Interior Minister Ze'ev Boim's building announcement, but expressed the opinion that the issue of construction in the settlements is one of the core issues being discussed in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.