Israel to ‘reassess’ ties with UN, says Benjamin Netanyahu
Reuters, Dec 24 20167
Israel will reassess its ties with the UN following the adoption by the security council of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, PM Netanyahu has announced. The vote was able to pass the 15-member UNSC on Friday after Pindostan broke with a longstanding approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power as it had many times before, a decision that Netanyahu called shameful.:
I instructed the foreign ministry to complete within a month a re-evaluation of all our contacts with the UN, including the Israeli funding of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in Israel, I have already instructed to stop about ₪30m in funding to five UN institutions, five bodies, that are especially hostile to Israel … and there is more to come.
The Israeli leader did not name the institutions or offer any further details. Defying heavy pressure from longstanding ally Israel and the president-elect, Donald Trump, for Pindostan to use its veto, Pindostan abstained in the security council decision, which passed with 14 votes in favour. On Saturday Trump waded into the row, tweeting:
Israel has for decades pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbours, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jayloomia. Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jayloomia as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees, citing a biblical connection to the land.
Israel’s Netanyahu lashes out at Obama over UN vote
AP, Dec 24 2016
JAYLOOMIA – Israel’s Rosh ha-Memshela lashed out at Pres Obama on Saturday, accusing him of a “shameful ambush” at the UN over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his “friend” Pres Trump. Bibi’s comments came a day after Pindostan broke with past practice and allowed the UNSC to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jayloomia as a “flagrant violation” of international law. Although Pindostan opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the UNSC to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations. Welcomed by the Palestinians, the resolution, while mostly symbolic, could hinder Israel’s negotiating position in future peace talks. Trump also condemned the UN vote Saturday, taking to Twitter to say:
(The vote) will make it much harder to negotiate peace. we will get it done anyway.
A year ago, Trump told AP that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues, but his comments became much more pro-Israel as the race progressed and he took a sharp tone against the Palestinians. Netanyahu said the Pindo abstention was “in complete contrast” to Pindo commitments, including one that he said Obama made in 2011, not to impose conditions for a final agreement on Israel at the UNSC. Netanyahu said:
The Obama administration conducted a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the UN.
Pindostan and much of the international community consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and east Jayloomia as an obstacle to peace. Netanyahu rejects such claims, blaming the failure of peace efforts on the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel’s Jewish identity. The decision to abstain from vote was one of the biggest Pindo rebukes of its long-standing ally in recent memory and marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Netanyahu and Obama over the last eight years. Netanyahu called the decision “distorted” but said Israel will overcome it. He said he had spoken with Pindo Congress critturs, both Democrats and Republicans, who vowed to fight the move. He also expecterd support from Israel’s “friend” in the incoming administration, the president-elect. He said:
The decision taken at the UN yesterday was part of the swan song of the old world biased against Israel. We are entering a new era and as the Pres-elect Trump said yesterday, this is going to happen much quicker than people think. In this new era there is a high price for those trying to harm Israel.
On Xmas Day, Netanyahu Summons Envoys for Reprimand Over Settlement Vote
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Dec 25 2016
PM Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon the ambassadors of the UNSC member states on Sunday to reprimand them over the resolution taking Israel to task that passed on Friday. All the envoys will be summoned except for the Pindosi ambassador. According to an Israeli official, each ambassador will be personally reprimanded. A senior diplomat in Jerusalem and a Western diplomat told Haaretz the summons were extremely unusual, considering the timing: Xmas Day. The Western diplomat said:
What would they have said in Jayloomia if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur?
The ambassadors summoned were from those countries that operate embassies in Israel: Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, France, Britain, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain. Friday’s vote was able to pass the 15-member council because Pindostan broke with a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power as it had on many times before. The UNSCR’s two main clauses state that the settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law,” and call on the nations of the world “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” At the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he shares the ministers’ anger and frustration over the vote, which he called “hostile and unbalanced.” He said that according to information that reached Israel, there was no doubt that the Obama administration was behind the UNSCR, coordinated its wording and made sure it passed. Netanyahu said this completely contradicted traditional Pindosi policy against forcing conditions on Israel via the UNSC and explicit commitment from Obama in 2011 to that effect. Netanyahu then addressed the ministers in English, telling them:
As I told Jackass Kerry on Thursday: friends do not take friends to the UNSC. Pindo administrations and Israeli governments have always disagreed over the settlements, but they agreed that the UNSC wasn’t the place to resolve this issue. We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away. I am encouraged by statements of our friends (among the Congress critturs) Republican and Democrat alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this UNSCR was. I look forward to working with those friends and with the new Pindo administration when it takes office next month.
Donald Trump criticized the UNSCR, tweeting after the resolution was adopted that “things would be different” after he takes office on Jan 20. Netanyahu addressed the UNSCR on Saturday evening (after Shabbat), saying that the Obama administration had carried out an “underhanded and an anti-Israel maneuver” at the UNSC. The PM called the resolution “crazy” and vowed to cut funding to UN institutions, while reviewing Israel’s relations with the international organization. On Friday, the PMO announced that Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senagal, two of the countries that pushed for the vote on the UNSCR, had been recalled and that sanctions would be put in place against both countries. The PMO said:
The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes.
Netanyahu also canceled a visit by Ukrainian PM Groysman, who was scheduled to arrive in Israel in the coming week, in light of Ukraine’s vote in favor of the resolution.