U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Saturday night that the UN Security Council vote demanding Israel halt construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem would make a peace deal "much harder," but opined that such a deal could happen anyway.
"The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!" Trump tweeted, according to AFP.
The Security Council passed the measure on Friday after the United States chose to abstain, breaking with past protocol in which Washington would veto anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.
Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, had said on Thursday that Washington should use its veto to block the resolution.
"As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations," he said in a statement.
Later reports suggested that Trump, at Israel’s request, had talked to President Barack Obama during the day on Thursday and asked him to veto the anti-Israel measure.
Egypt, which originally submitted the resolution at the request of the Arab League, subsequently withdrew it, following which American officials revealed that the United States was planning to abstain from the vote at the Security Council.
On Friday, the measure was placed back on the table by four members of the Security Council – New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela. The vote then took place with the United States abstaining.
During the early part of his election campaign, Trump stated he would be “neutral and unpredictable” when it comes to the Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) conflict.
He later clarified his comments and said that while he would be happy to broker a peace deal, “in order for an agreement to happen, the Palestinians need to show interest. It's a little difficult to reach an agreement when the other side doesn't really want to talk to you.”
The PA indeed does not appear to be interested in reaching a peace deal, despite its claims otherwise, as the UN Security Council resolution was initiated by the PA itself through the Arab League – one of several unilateral anti-Israel initiatives it has taken in recent years.