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Security Council approves 'anti-settlement' resolution

UNSC approves Resolution 2334 calling on Israel to end "settlement activities". United States abstains.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari, Canada, | updated: 21:21

United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
Reuters

The UN Security Council on Friday approved Resolution 2334 demanding that Israel halt its construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.

14 member states voted in favor of the resolution, which was resubmitted by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela a day after Egypt, which originally submitted it, withdrew it.

The United States abstained from the vote and did not use its veto power to stop the resolution.

Soon after it was announced that the resolution would be voted upon, senior Israeli officials attacked U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Obama and Kerry are behind this shameful move in the United Nations,” the officials said, according to Haaretz.

“Obama could announce at any time that he intends casting a veto on the resolution, but instead he’s pushing it. He is abandoning Israel and breaking a policy of decades to defend Israel in the UN,” they added.

One senior official added that Obama and Kerry were carrying out the move in the UN “in cahoots with the Palestinians” in an attempt to impose a policy on President-elect Donald Trump.

“Obama is attempting to get a decision passed by the UN, despite knowing that it does not represent the policy of the next president,” the official said, according to Haaretz.

Diplomats said on Thursday night, after the original vote was postponed, that Obama planned to abstain or perhaps even vote in favor of the resolution, breaking with past protocol in which Washington vetoed such anti-Israel resolutions.

U.S. officials rejected on Friday evening the Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind the Security Council resolution, saying that Washington was not involved in formulating the initiative or in promoting it.

“The administration was not involved in the formulation of the resolution or in advancing it,” the American officials said, according to Haaretz. “We have not communicated to any UN Security Council members how the United States would vote if the resolution comes before the UN Security Council.”

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, responded harshly to the American decision not to veto the UN Security Council resolution.

“Neither the Security Council nor UNESCO can sever the tie between the people of Israel and the land of Israel,” said Danon.

"It was to be expected that Israel's greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new U.S. administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN's relationship with Israel," he added.

The Conference of Presidents of Jewish American Organizations expressed its disappointment with the United States’ decision to abstain, after earlier having issued an urgent call for Obama to immediately announce that the United States will veto the resolution.

“There is no justification or explanation that validates the United States failure to veto the one-sided, offensive resolution adopted by the Security Council today. The United States vote will be seen as a betrayal of the fundamentals of the special relationship that will nevertheless continue to mark the close ties between the peoples of the two countries,” said Stephen M. Greenberg, Conference Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference Executive Vice Chairman and CEO.

“The Security Council action is in keeping with the long established pattern of anti-Israel bias and discrimination that permeates the United Nations and its agencies. This was acknowledged in recent days by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who called for an end to the practice of singling out Israel and subjecting it to constant condemnation and criticism with the worst violators of human and civil rights and international law sitting in judgement of this courageous democracy," said the Jewish leaders.

“The resolution further marginalizes the United Nations and is a stain on the name and reputation of each country that voted for it. Every honest and objective observer can clearly see that it is Palestinian rejectionism that blocks progress in the peace process. The Security Council has abetted this obstructionism by allowing [Palestinian Authority] chairman [Mahmoud] Abbas to resort to the international body in an effort to avoid the responsibilities that would be entailed in direct negotiations with Israel. While the damage is done, we hope that remedial measures can be adopted in the future that will bring a moral context, honest assessment, and clear vision for a more positive future than we saw today,” they continued.

“We stand with the people and government of Israel on the eve of the Hanukkah holiday which marks the first battle for religious freedom that regrettably continues until today. Moreover, the age old story of Hanukkah puts the lie to the efforts of Chairman Abbas to deny the connection of the Jewish people and the Jewish state to their ancient home-land and which denigrates thousands of years of Judeo-Christian history and heritage. We remain committed to the search for a just and lasting peace which has been made more complicated and more distant by the Security Council’s action.”

Meanwhile, Meretz chairwoman MK Zehava Galon urged the United States not to veto the resolution.

“I hope that the U.S. administration does not veto the resolution which is not against Israel, but rather against the annexation and settlement policy of the Israeli government,” she tweeted.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)