Israel threatens to give Trump ‘evidence’ that Obama orchestrated UNSCR
Peter Beaumont, Guardian, Dec 26 2016
Israel has escalated its already furious war with the outgoing Obama administration, claiming that it has “rather hard” evidence that Obama was behind a critical UNSCR criticising Israeli settlement building, and threatening to hand over the material to Donald Trump. The latest comments come a day after the Pindo ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, was summoned by Netanyahu to explain why Pindostan did not veto the vote and instead abstained. The claims have emerged in interviews given by close Netanyahu allies to Pindo media outlets on Monday after the Obama administration denied in categorical terms the claims originally made by Netanyahu himself. However, speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes said Arab sources among others had informed Jayloomia of Obama’s alleged involvement in advancing the resolution. Keyes said:
We have rather iron-clad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by Pindostan and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place.
Doubling down on the claim a few hours later the controversial Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, went even further suggesting it had gathered evidence that it would present to the incoming Trump administration. Dermer told CNN:
Not only did Pindostan not stand by Israel’s side during the vote, it was behind this ganging up on Israel at the UN. We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels. If they want to share it with the Pindo creeple, they are welcome to do it.
Dermer is a controversial figure in Washington, blamed by the Obama administration for organising the invitation for Netanyahu to address Congress in the midst of Israel’s campaign against the Iran nuclear deal. His comments on CNN seem to represent an even more egregious breach of protocol, not least over the vague sourcing of the evidence alluded to by Keyes and Dermer. Indeed, Israel was accused by unnamed Pindo boxtops in a Newsweek article two years ago of “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying” levels of espionage targeting Pindistan, a story refuted by then foreign minister Avigor Liberman as a “malicious fabrication aimed at harming relations.” Last year, Pindosi officials again accused Israel of spying, this time on the Iran nuclear talks, with one telling the WSJ:
It is one thing for Pindostan & Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal Pindosi secrets and play them back to Pindosi legislators to undermine Pindo diplomacy.
Dermer’s threat on CNN to hand information to Trump would seem to replicate some of those concerns. Israel’s threat to present “evidence” on a sitting president to an incoming presidential team and to do it so publicly appears almost unprecedented. The moves appear part of a high-risk, highly partisan strategy on Netanyahu’s part,
tying the future of Israel to a highly unpredictable Republican president-elect with no experience of public office, who comes from the very fringes even of the party he stood as candidate for. Pindostan has already denied the claim made by Israel in the strongest terms. Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said in a statement on Friday:
We did not draft this resolution. We did not introduce this resolution. We made this decision when it came up for a vote. But because of its opposition to settlement activity and concern for what it could mean for the region, we could not in good conscience veto it.