UN demands Israel ends settlement building


The US abstained in the vote, prompting a claim from a minister close to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu that its long-time ally had “abandoned Israel”.

Sky News’ US correspondent Greg Milam said it was “extremely unusual” as the country historically vetoed such resolutions.

He said the move would be “to the fury of many in Israel and the United States”, adding: “They see this as the Obama administration delivering something of a parting shot.”

The resolution – which Israel has already dismissed as “absurd” – was first tabled by Egypt, but they withdrew it under pressure from the Israelis and Donald Trump.

The President-elect wanted the US to veto the resolution when it was re-tabled by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.

After the vote Mr Trump tweeted: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

US House Speaker Paul Ryan called the abstention “absolutely shameful” and a “blow to peace”.

Mr Netanyahu and Mr Obama during talks in Washington DC in 2015
Image Caption:Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama have endured a strained relationship

The resolution said Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity”.

Palestinians called it “a day of victory” and a “big blow” to Israeli policy.

Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the resolution, adopted by a vote of 14 to zero, showed there was “strong support for the two-state solution”.

But a statement from Mr Netanyahu’s office said: “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms.

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes.

“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”

Explaining the move, US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the Security Council: “The US has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for nearly five decades.”

And she added: “Our vote today is fully in line with the bi-partisan history of how American presidents have approached both the issue and the role of this body.”

The UK’s permanent representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, welcomed the result and said it was a “clear reinforcement” of international belief in a two-state solution.


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