UNITED NATIONS – Egypt circulated a draft U.N. resolution Wednesday night that demands a halt to Israeli settlement activities in Palestinian territory and declares that all existing settlements "have no legal validity" and are "a flagrant violation" of international law.
The proposed resolution also stresses that "the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution" which would see Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace.
The Security Council scheduled a meeting at 3 p.m. EST Thursday to vote on the draft resolution.
Much of the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal and backs the establishment of a Palestinian state, even though a deal appears to be increasingly complicated, in part because of the continued growth of settlements.
But Egypt's call for a speedy vote leaves almost no time for negotiations among the 15 council members, and some language in the draft is highly likely to be unacceptable to the United States, Israel's closest ally and a veto-wielding council member.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said the resolution "will do nothing to promote a diplomatic process, and will only reward the Palestinian policy of incitement and terror."
"We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the council," he said.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, has said a cessation of all Israeli settlement activities and an end to its nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory are necessary for a comprehensive peace agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected those terms saying negotiations should take place without conditions.
In September, the international diplomatic "quartet" of Mideast peacemakers called for Israel and the Palestinians to take steps to resume stalled peace talks.
But the gaps between Israeli and Palestinian leaders remain wide, preventing any meaningful talks since 2009.
The draft resolution calls for intensified and accelerated international and regional diplomatic efforts "aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
New Zealand, a non-permanent council member, has been pushing a separate resolution that would set out the parameters of a peace settlement.