With just one U.S. delegate dissenting, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee yesterday (Feb. 21) criticized the U.S. veto on Feb. 18 of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning continued settlement construction by Israel in the Palestinian Territories.

The WCC’s main governing body expressed its “deep concern and disappointment” at the U.S. veto — the resolution was co-sponsored by 130 countries and supported by every other member of the 15-member Security Council — and called the veto “a deeply regrettable mistake.”

It called upon the U.S. government to “to intensify efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in the region with respect to law and justice.”

Only the Rev. John Jillions of the Orthodox Church in America opposed the Central Committee resolution. “There is no reference in the text why the U.S. voted against the [UN] resolution,” he said, “so it is unbalanced and makes me uneasy.”

The U.S. veto, the WCC said, “contradicts the statement” made by U.S. President Barack Obama in Cairo last June that “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”

The WCC statement reaffirms its longstanding position acknowledging the right of the State of Israel to exist in security within internationally recognized borders, but insists that “the settlement policy of the State of Israel violates international law and obstructs the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.”