When Israel resumed settlement construction in September 2010 after a temporary freeze, the Palestinians suspended peace talks until the imposition of a comprehensive settlement freeze including East Jerusalem and began exploring alternative ways forward in the absence of negotiations. The Arab League supported this decision and agreed to work with the Palestinians to seek alternatives until the United States came up with a serious, viable approach to resuming negotiations. The Arab efforts focused on securing international recognition of a Palestinian state and Palestinian rights with individual states and in international fora (see Quarterly Updates in JPS 158 and 159 for details). To this end, the PLO and Arab states began work in mid-December 2010 on a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would reaffirm the illegality of Israeli settlements, using wording carefully cobbled together from U.S. official statements on settlements so as to make it difficult for the United States to oppose the resolution. The draft was submitted by Lebanon with seventy-eight countries as cosponsors. The United States nonetheless vetoed the measure, with all the other UNSC members voting in favor. For the U.S. explanation of its decision to veto, see Doc. D2 below. For more on the background and ramifications of the resolution, see Graham Usher's “Letter from the UN” in this issue. The text of the resolution was taken from the UN's Web site at www.un.org.

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