Before the Christmas holiday, the United Nations passed a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement building, but it went further than that. According to David Keyes, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the resolution also noted that the Western Wall, which is the holiest site where people of the Jewish faith can pray, is an occupied territory. Moreover, he said that the Israeli government has “ironclad” evidence that the Obama administration helped craft this resolution and pushed for its passage at the United Nations. Keyes reiterated the claim that the Obama White House pushed for this resolution on CNN as well (via Fox News)
Israel’s government publicly accused the Obama administration Sunday of helping create and push the recently passed United Nations resolution condemning settlement activity, with a top official telling Fox News they have “ironclad information” on the U.S. government’s involvement.
“We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place,” David Keyes, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Fox News’ “America’s News HQ.”
The accusation marks a new escalation in the Netanyahu government’s response to the U.N. Security Council vote on Friday. The resolution passed thanks to a U.S. abstention, a decision Netanyahu has described as a “shameful ambush.”
The White House already has acknowledged President Obama made the decision for U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain. Unclear was how involved the Obama administration was in crafting and pushing the resolution itself – which initially was put forward by Egypt, and then pursued by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.
Leaders from both parties had urged President Obama to instruct U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Powers to veto the resolution. The U.S. decided to abstain (via The Hill):
The Obama administration’s decision to let it pass represents a break from the longstanding U.S. policy of shielding Israel from U.N. reproaches.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., explained the move in a statement to the council, condemning Netanyahu for continuing settlement expansion while paying lip service to the idea of a two-state solution.
“One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict,” she said. “One has to make a choice between settlements and separation.”
The news of the U.S. abstention was met with fierce condemnation from many on the right, including the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), just minutes after some top Democrats had called on the administration to veto the measure.
Minutes before the vote, top Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) had urged the president to veto the resolution.
Netanyahu has stopped funding to five UN institutions, as the country reevaluates its relationships with the international body.