Official: Israel asked Trump to talk to Obama

Senior Israeli official says the government reached out to Trump for help in pressuring Obama to veto UN Security Council resolution.

Ben Ariel,

Trump and Obama
Trump and Obama
Reuters

The Israeli government reached out to President-elect Donald Trump for help in pressuring the Obama administration to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning “settlement activity”, a senior Israeli official told CNN on Thursday.

The vote on the resolution, which was submitted by Egypt and had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, was postponed indefinitely after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi instructed his country’s UN delegation to push for a delay in the vote.

Egypt delayed a potential showdown vote at the Security Council on the resolution after pressure from the Israelis, a Western official said Thursday. The Israeli official told CNN that his country also approached the Trump campaign after it felt that it had failed to persuade the Obama administration to veto the planned vote.

The official said that Israel "implored the White House not to go ahead and told them that if they did, we would have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump."

"We did reach out to the President-elect and are deeply appreciative that he weighed in, which was not a simple thing to do," the official told CNN.

American officials revealed earlier on Thursday that the United States was planning to break with protocol and abstain from the vote at the Security Council.

State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to say how the United States would have voted, or even to say whether a final decision had been made about how it would vote.

An Israeli official told Reuters on Thursday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government believes the Obama administration had long planned the council vote in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

"It was a violation of a core commitment to protect Israel at the UN," the official said.

Publicly, the resolution drew condemnations from both Netanyahu and Trump, who called on the White House to veto it. Having a President-elect weigh in to influence U.S. policy is highly unusual, analysts told CNN.

"It's unprecedented that a President-elect would pronounce on a matter of US policy before he became president," said Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center, "let alone say publicly that the administration should not vote for the resolution."

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said the transition team gave the White House a heads up before it sent the statement out Thursday morning about the Security Council vote.

Egypt might have pulled back the resolution because of the opposition from Trump and Netanyahu, said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an Egypt expert.

Sisi has been "trying to advance talks between Israelis and Palestinians for a year now," Trager told CNN.

"Given Trump's reaction, given Netanyahu's reaction, he must have realized this resolution would not advance the peace process," he added.




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