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US allows UN to condemn Israeli settlements, Netanyahu furious

The resolution passed 14-0 with the US abstaining over deep frustration with the continuing construction activities in the settlement. It cited a move to legitimise these settlements, calling them “illegal even under Israeli law”.

world Updated: Dec 25, 2016 08:52 IST
Yashwant Raj
UN resolution

US President Barack Obama’s administration has shared a fractious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.(Reuters)

Ignoring calls from president-elect Donald Trump and lobbying by Israel, the United States on Friday allowed the UN Security Council to adopt a contentious resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

The resolution passed 14-0 with the US abstaining over deep frustration with the continuing construction activities in the settlement. It cited a move to legitimise these settlements, calling them “illegal even under Israeli law”.

Though this was not unexpected, Israel was furious. “President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN,” an unidentified official said in a statement to several reporters. “The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.”

A resolution moved by Egypt was to come up for vote on Thursday, but was postponed because of Trump’s personal intervention — he spoke to the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Egypt agreed to hold the resolution, its co-sponsors New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela decided to push ahead with it. It required nine votes to pass, and it got 14. 

Any one of the permanent members could have stopped it with a veto, but no one did, demonstrating Israel’s complete global isolation.

The Obama administration, which has been extremely frustrated with the continuing settlement constructions and has shared a fractious relationship with Netanyahu, ignored Trump’s open call on Thursday and intense lobbying by the Israeli government, which had approached the president-elect.

Trump said in a statement, “The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.

“This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

After the vote, Trump said in a tweet that things will be different once he assumes office on January 20.