Published: Mon, December 26, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Israel to do 'all it takes' to emerge unharmed by United Nations vote

Israel to do 'all it takes' to emerge unharmed by United Nations vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro on Sunday (Dec 25) two days after Washington abstained in a vote on a United Nations resolution against Israeli settlements.

It is rare for the USA ambassador to be summoned by Israeli government officials and even more unusual for the prime minister to meet directly with an envoy.

"From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed", Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said the vote was guided by one principle: "To preserve the possibility of the two-state solution". An Israeli official pointed fingers at the USA saying "Obama and Kerry are behind this embarrassing action at the United Nations". And it could have significant ramifications for the Jewish state, potentially hindering Israel's negotiating position in future peace talks. Anybody can review it.

"I wasn't surprised by the actions of the Americans or the United Nations, because they were never our friends", Regev said.

"Israel looks forward to working with President-elect (Donald) Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution".

Meanwhile, reacting to the UNSC vote, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's office said that the vote was "a big blow" to Israeli policy. "It was a vote against Israel".

"Even more unusual is the fact that unlike the other envoys who were summoned on Sunday to the foreign ministry, Netanyahu will conduct the conversation himself at his office", it said ahead of the meeting.

Israel was furious at the passage of Security Council resolution 2334, which says its settlements in the West Bank "had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under global law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security".

Obama and Netanyahu have had a strained relationship, as the US President has seen his efforts to forge a Two-State solution fail.

The senator told CNN that he had discussed the resolution before the vote with António Guterres, the incoming United Nations secretary-general, and also lobbied members of the Security Council not to support it.

By refusing to veto the resolution, the Obama administration broke a long tradition, the prime minister added.

Loud applause erupted in the council chamber after U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power permitted the resolution to pass.

It has no diplomatic relations with Venezuela or Malaysia, which also voted for the resolution.

Some in the Israeli government view Trump's victory as an opportunity to expand settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian land occupied by Israel for almost 50 years. He also urged the government to ramp up construction in Israeli settlements, built on land the Palestinians hope to use for a state.

The resolution "makes clear that both Israel and the Palestinians have to take steps to preserve the two-state solution", said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

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