WASHINGTON (IINA) – US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to change things at the United Nations when he takes over at the White House next month, after the UN Security Council’s vote in favor of a resolution demanding the halt of settlement activity by Israel in occupied Palestinian territory.
The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and Trump. Israel and Trump had called on the US to veto the measure but it ended up abstaining, resulting in the resolution being adopted with 14 votes in favor to a resounding round of applause.
Israel refused to recognize the UN resolution and retaliated by recalling its ambassador to New Zealand and Senegal. “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.”
“At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half-a-million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory’,” he added.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the decision should have been no surprise to Israel which knew Wellington’s position long before the UN vote. “Israel has informed us of their decision to recall their ambassador to New Zealand for consultations,” McCully told AFP news agency in a statement. “We have been very open about our view that the [Security Council] should be doing more to support the Middle East peace process and the position we adopted today is totally in line with our long established policy on the Palestinian question.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz accused the US of abandoning Israel by abstaining.”This is not a resolution against settlements, it is an anti-Israel resolution, against the Jewish people and the state of the Jews. The United States tonight has simply abandoned its only friend in the Middle East,” Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu, told Channel Two News.
Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state. The passage of the resolution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians, and likely will be all but ignored by the incoming Trump administration. But it was more than merely symbolic.