Israel lashed out at US President Barack Obama over a UN Security Council resolution passed yesterday demanding it halt settlements in Palestine, while vowing it would not abide by it.
“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” it said.
“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect (Donald) Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”
In a rare and momentous step, the United States abstained from yesterday’s vote, enabling the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.
The text was passed with support from all remaining members of the 15-member council with 14-0 votes.
The landmark move by the Security Council came despite intense lobbying efforts by Israel and Trump to block the resolution.
But the Obama administration has grown increasingly frustrated with settlement building in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied for nearly 50 years.
Meanwhile, Israel has announced that its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal had been ordered to return for consultations and that it was cutting all aid programmes to Senegal.
Israel has no diplomatic ties with Malaysia and Venezuela.
Israel has also resorted to blackmailing by reportedly threatening to cut off supply of medicines to NHS in UK.
There have been growing warnings that settlement building is fast eroding the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They are constructed on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state and have long been seen as illegal under international law.
According to a BBC report, about 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, but Israel is perhaps the only country in the world which has shown utter disdain to UN resolutions with impunity.
The United States has traditionally served as Israel’s diplomatic shield, protecting it from resolutions it opposes.
But there had been mounting speculation that Obama would allow such a resolution to pass before he leaves office on January 20.
Obama and Netanyahu have had testy relations, but Israel’s statement after the vote was particularly harsh toward the US administration, as were comments earlier in the day from an anonymous Israeli official.
The United States is Israel’s most important ally and provides it with more than USD 3 billion per year in defence aid.
(With additional inputs from PTI)