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Israeli settlement vote: Trump blasts the United Nations as 'sad'

The US, which has a veto on the Security Council, refrained from casting its vote.
Dec 27th 2016, 7:52 AM 15,833 86

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Donald Trump has used his medium of choice to hit out at last week’s United Nations vote on Israeli settlements – describing the UN as “sad”.

“The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time,” he said on Twitter, adding:

So sad!

On Friday the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem”.

The United States – which has a veto in the Security Council – refrained from casting its vote, enabling the adoption of the measure, the first resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

Israel has accused the White House of orchestrating a “gang-up” against Israel on the vote. Ambassador Ron Dermer said in an interview with CNN that the Israeli government plans to show evidence of the alleged US maneuvering in due time.

“What is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang-up. I think it was a very sad day, really a shameful chapter,” the Israeli diplomat said, employing unusually sharp language.

“We have clear evidence of it. We will present that evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels. And if they want to share it with the US people they’re welcome to do it,” Dermer said, adding that the Israeli government is “deeply disappointed” with Washington.

Relations between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have long been cool, with sharp differences over settlement policy, the contours of a potential Middle East peace deal, and Iran’s nuclear programme.

However, Israel receives more than $3 billion in annual US aid – and previous Israeli leaders have carefully nursed the relationship.

But Dermer bluntly accused the Obama administration of helping Palestinians “wage a diplomatic and legal war against Israel”.

Trump Trump speaks to reporters in Florida last week. Source: Andrew Harnik

Trump 

Trump, who last week said Washington should have used its veto to block the resolution, has chosen as ambassador to Israel the hardliner David Friedman, who has said Washington will not pressure Israel to curtail settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Trump said his inauguration will mark the end of Obama-era strained relations with Washington, and will see a return to unstinting support for Israel.

“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” he tweeted after the Security Council vote.

Netanyahu summoned US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro on Sunday to express his displeasure. An official Israeli source confirmed only that Netanyahu and Shapiro had met, without elaborating on the substance of their discussions.

The UN text was passed with support from all remaining members of the 15-member council, with applause breaking out in the chamber.

The Haaretz daily’s website said that for Israel to summon an American ambassador was “considered a most unusual step.”

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.

Source: Daily Media/YouTube

UN vote 

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said last week that America’s abstention stemmed from concerns that the expansion of the Jewish outposts was threatening the two-state solution aimed at achieving peace by creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“We cannot stand in the way of this resolution as we seek to preserve a chance of attaining our longstanding objective of two states living side by side in peace and security,” she said.

The settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the very viability of that two-state solution.

Reporting by - © AFP 2016. Additional reporting by Daragh Brophy. 

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