President Barack Obama
President Barack ObamaReuters

The United States was planning to abstain from the vote at the UN Security Council on a resolution which would have called on Israel to halt “settlement building”, U.S.-based media outlets reported on Thursday.

Several diplomatic sources told NBC News that the outgoing Obama administration had planned to abstain from the vote, which would have been seen as a slight to Israel.

Another U.S. official quoted by CNN said that the administration was actually debating whether to abstain or vote yes.

The White House was not considering a veto, the official told the network, but added that if the resolution is amended, American officials will need to review it before deciding how to vote.

Similarly, another U.S. official quoted by Reuters said there was a widespread assumption within the State Department that the United States was likely to abstain.

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.

The vote on the resolution, which was submitted by Egypt, was postponed indefinitely after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi instructed his nation’s delegation to push for a delay in the vote.

Israeli officials feared the measure was likely to pass, and that the outgoing Obama administration would withhold its veto.

Both President-elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called upon the U.S. mission to the UN to block the resolution.

The resolution demands a full “cessation of all Israeli settlement activities” in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, and also says such activities are an obstacle to “the two-state solution”.

The resolution is a unilateral move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which seeks to undermine Israel and bypass direct peace talks with the Jewish state.