Israel rejects UN resolution to remove its settlements from Palestine, lashes out at Obama

24 December 2016, 09:21 AM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Image, File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Image, File)

Israel lashed out at US President Barack Obama over a UN Security Council resolution passed on Friday demanding it halt settlements in Palestinian territory, while vowing it would not abide by it.

“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” it 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.”

Also read | UN passes resolution to end Israeli settlements in Palestine as US abstains

In a rare and momentous step, the United States abstained from yesterday’s vote, enabling the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

The text was passed with support from all remaining members of the 15-member council.

Read | White House defends decision to abstain from UNSC vote on Israeli settlement in Palestine

The landmark move by the Security Council came despite intense lobbying efforts by Israel and Trump to block the resolution.

But the Obama administration has grown increasingly frustrated with settlement building in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied for nearly 50 years.

Also read |  Israeli official accuses Obama of shameful move against Isreal at UN

There have been growing warnings that settlement building is fast eroding the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They are constructed on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state and have long been seen as illegal under international law.

The United States has traditionally served as Israel’s diplomatic shield, protecting it from resolutions it opposes.

But there had been mounting speculation that Obama would allow such a resolution to pass before he leaves office on January 20.

Obama and Netanyahu have had testy relations, but Israel’s statement after the vote was particularly harsh toward the US administration, as were comments earlier in the day from an anonymous Israeli official.

The United States is Israel’s most important ally and provides it with more than USD 3 billion per year in defence aid.

First Published: Saturday, December 24, 2016 07:02 AM
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