US to Back Israel in UN

US officials deny New York Times report, say America will continue to back Israel in the UN.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 10:03

Obama (right) with Netanyahu
Obama (right) with Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

United States officials who spoke to the pan-Arab paper Al-Sharq il-Awsat denied Thursday that America would stop using its United Nations veto to help Israel. The New York Times had reported that US President Barack Obama warned that America would no longer veto anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council.

Obama was quoted as having told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the US would stop exercising its Security Council veto if Israel did not work to promote peace talks with the PA.

A senior White House official told Al-Sharq il-Awsat that the NYT report was incorrect. America will continue to defend Israel's right to self-defense in the UN, and will continue to weigh in against selective criticism targeting Israel, he said.

The official declined to give details of Obama's talk with Abbas, saying only that the president had asked both Israel and the PA for “confidence-building steps.” America would like Israel and the PA to begin indirect negotiations, he added.

National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said Obama is “optimistic” regarding the chances for peace between Israel and the PA. Obama would like the parties to resume negotiations as quickly as possible, he said.