Israeli officials reached out to Donald Trump’s transition team at the “highest levels” to try to table the U.N. resolution demanding a halt to Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian territory.
Israeli officials, according to a diplomatic source, warned the Obama team that they’d go to Trump after they failed to convince the Obama administration to veto the resolution, which was to be voted on Thursday. The vote was ultimately postponed.
This isn’t over, though -- I’m told that the U.N. may take up the resolution Friday.
Israeli officials will not publicly comment or say whether they specifically asked the president-elect to take the dramatic step of publicly opposing the sitting president or if they suggested that he call Egypt’s President al Sisi in order to get him to delay the vote.
Mr. Trump tweeted about the vote Thursday, hours before the vote was to take place.
Earlier this fall President Obama granted Israel a $38 billion military aid package - the largest single military aid deal ever given by a U.S. president. Yet, weeks later Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government authorized a significant expansion of Israeli settlements and a related demolition of Palestinian homes. Using unusually strong language to refer to a U.S. ally, the Obama White House “strongly condemned” the activity.
The Netanyahu government argues that the U.N. should not weigh in on the matter which should be decided in bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians. It also hasn’t agreed to halt expansion until then.