Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel would expect that the Obama administration will not carry out a shift in policy and will not promote or support a United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue during the period following the U.S. presidential election until Obama leaves office, Haaretz reported Monday.
According to the newspaper, Netanyahu made the comments in a telephone conversation with Kerry on Saturday night in which he explained to Kerry about the relocation plan for the community of Amona.
The election is to be held on November 8 while Obama's term ends on January 20.
A senior Israeli official who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter told Haaretz that, in the call, Netanyahu presented Kerry with Israel's position on the matter and repeated the points that he, Netanyahu, had presented publicly about two weeks ago in a speech to the UN General Assembly.
Haaretz has learned that in the portion of the call devoted to possible steps at the UN Security Council, for the most part Kerry listened, but ultimately told the prime minister that the U.S. administration has still not made any decision on the issue.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has several times initiated unilateral resolutions at the UN Security Council which seek to condemn Israel over its construction in Judea and Samaria, declare the communities there illegal and force a peace settlement on the Jewish state.
PA officials have expressed hope that Obama, freed of re-election concerns, would break with American protocol and refrain from vetoing any resolutions put to a vote before he leaves office.
A group of 88 senators has signed a bipartisan letter urging Obama to maintain the long-standing U.S. policy of vetoing any one-sided UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian Arab issue.
Officials in the Prime Minister's Office and at the Foreign Ministry are concerned that, following the American presidential elections but prior to the end of his term in the White House, Obama could attempt to promote steps to enshrine his presidential legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, noted Haaretz.
The assessment in Jerusalem is that such a process could take the form of a speech in which the U.S. president would spell out his vision for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support for a Security Council resolution regarding communities in Judea and Samaria or even the promotion of a Security Council resolution that would define the principles for a solution to the core issues of the conflict, such as the borders of a Palestinian state or the future of Jerusalem.
Despite concerns over steps Obama could take at the United Nations, Netanyahu preferred not to raise the subject at the meeting that he had with Obama in New York two weeks ago. The Israeli prime minister did, however, raise the subject several days later at a meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to Haaretz.
On Friday, the UN Security Council will meet in a special session to consider Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. No resolutions will be voted on at the session, but it is expected to be open to the media and to become a display of international condemnation of the Israeli government's policies.
Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats have expressed the view that the PA does not intend to seriously promote a Security Council resolution on the “settlements” until after the November 8 elections in the United States.
The intensive Palestinian efforts at the Security Council on the settlements, they say, is designed to prepare the ground for a resolution on the subject after the U.S. elections.