Israel Accuses Obama Of Anti-Israeli ‘Shameful Move’ At UN; Vote Scheduled For 3PM

An Israeli official on Friday accused President Barack Obama of colluding with the Palestinians in a “shameful move against Israel at the U.N.” after learning the White House did not intend to veto a Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem the day before.

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” the official said. “The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” he said calling it “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”

Earlier he said Israel’s prime minister turned to President-elect Donald Trump to help head off the critical U.N. resolution.

Although the U.S. opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations. But after eight years of failed peace efforts during the Obama Administration, Israel has expressed concern the outgoing president would take an audacious step to leave his mark on the region. In recent weeks, the White House had been especially secretive about its deliberations.

The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years, and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.

The Egyptian-sponsored resolution had demanded that Israel halt settlement activities in areas claimed by the Palestinians and declared that existing settlements “have no legal validity.”

But under heavy Israeli pressure, Egypt called off a planned vote in the Security Council hours before it was to take place. In the diplomatic activity ahead of the postponement, both Netanyahu and Trump issued nearly identical statements urging the U.S. to veto the measure.

“After becoming aware that the administration would not veto the anti-Israel resolution, Israeli officials reached out to Trump’s transition team to ask for the president-elect’s help to avert the resolution,” the Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity.

On Friday, Egypt said its president had received a call from Trump in which they both agreed to give the incoming U.S. administration a chance to try and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The call came hours after Egypt indefinitely postponed the U.N. vote.

A statement from the Egyptian presidency said the two men spoke by phone early Friday and agreed on “the importance of giving a chance for the new American administration to deal in a comprehensive way with the different aspects of the Palestinian issue with the aim of achieving a comprehensive and a final resolution.”

A senior Palestinian official, speaking anonymously according to protocol, said Egypt didn’t consult with the Palestinians about delaying the vote and it was a “complete shock” for them. Egypt represents Arab states on the security council.

Egypt is the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, and the two countries have close security ties in a shared struggle against Islamic militants.

He said attempts are still underway to bring the resolution to vote after Egypt called it off as there are still several other sponsors— Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal and New Zealand — that could present it.

Trump has signaled he will be far more sympathetic to Israel. His campaign platform made no mention of the establishment of a Palestinian state, a core policy objective of Democratic and Republican presidents over the past two decades.

He also has vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would put the U.S. at odds with the Palestinians and almost the entire remainder of the international community, and his pick for ambassador to Israel, Jewish-American lawyer David Friedman, is a donor and vocal supporter of the settlements.

The proposed resolution would have been more than symbolic. While it did not call for imposing sanctions on Israel, its language could have hindered Israel’s negotiating position in future peace talks. Given the widespread international opposition to the settlements, it would have been nearly impossible for the Trump administration to reverse it.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pushed a “shameful” draft anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council, a senior Israeli official said on Friday.

    “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,” the official said.

    The official added that “President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it. This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration of advancing peace.”

    The vote on the resolution was scheduled for Thursday but then postponed. The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on the resolution after four council members again put forward the measure a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump.

    New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, who were co-sponsors of the draft resolution, have requested the vote, which diplomats said was likely to take place at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT).

    New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal told Egypt on Thursday night that if Cairo did not clarify its position, then they reserved the right to “proceed to put it to vote ASAP.”

    Security Council member Egypt then officially withdrew the text, which it had worked on with the Palestinians, allowing those four countries to call for a vote, diplomats said.

    A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump had both called for the United States to veto the draft resolution.

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