JERUSALEM -- Israel’s Prime Minister has lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama, accusing him of a “shameful” move at the United Nations over West Bank settlements. Benjamin Netanyahu said he is looking forward to working with his “friend” President-elect Donald Trump.
Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel rejects the “delusional” U.N. resolution which demanded an end to Israeli settlement building. It got the green light after the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, abstained from voting.
It was a jarring break from U.S. practice. Though opposed to the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block such resolutions.
“The Obama Administration conducted a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the U.N,” Netanyahu said.
He also said he spoke with U.S. leaders who vowed to fight the move.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has defended the U.S. abstention. She warned on Friday that settlements make it harder to negotiate a separate Palestinian state, which the administration believes is crucial to a lasting peace, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reported.
“The United States has been sending a message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for nearly five decades,” Power said.
Power also said, “We would not have let this resolution pass if it hadn’t addressed counterproductive steps by the Palestinians,” and added that the vote “does not in any way diminish the United States’ steadfast and unparalleled commitment to the security of Israel.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon argued on Friday it will make a peace deal harder. He also looked ahead to Mr. Trump’s presidency.
“I have no doubt that the new US administration will usher in a new era,” Danon tweeted.
The U.S. decision to abstain on the 14-0 vote followed months of intensely secret deliberations in Washington, a spate of fresh Israeli settlement announcements that sparked exasperation and anger from American officials, and recent attempts by Israel’s government to have parliament legalize thousands of homes built on privately owned Palestinian land.
After Egypt suddenly postponed a scheduled vote on the resolution Thursday, eportedly under pressure from Israel and supporters of Mr. Trump, four new sponsors stepped up and pushed it through - Malaysia, New Zealand, Venezuela and Senegal, each representing a different region and reflecting the wide support for the measure.