US restricts travel by staff in West Bank
JERUSALEM — The US consulate in Jerusalem restricted personal travel for staff members in some areas of the West Bank yesterday, a day after the Obama administration vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned Israel.
At the same time, Palestinians demonstrated against the United States for vetoing the Arab-backed Security Council resolution. Its sponsors sought to condemn Israel for continuing to build Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.
A US consular official said the travel restrictions were a precaution to avoid attacks, and that there had been no violence so far. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of consular rules.
The ban prohibits staff from personal travel to Jericho, the use of some West Bank roads, and using a border crossing to Jordan frequented by Palestinians for the next three days.
Palestinians say Jewish settlements prevent the emergence of a viable state by cutting up the West Bank, one of the chief territories they seek.
“Oh Obama, hateful one, settlements will not last,’’ chanted hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus.
In Tulkarem, a few hundred demonstrators marched to the nearby Israeli separation barrier and hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers. More demonstrations were planned for today.
The militant Islamic group Hamas, which rules Gaza, also condemned the veto.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the initiative was successful despite the American veto because the 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution.