A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel has “rather ironclad information” that US President Barack Obama played an active role in both formulating and pushing for the UN Security Council resolution lambasting settlement construction, which passed on Friday after Washington decided not to exercise its veto and abstained.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, David Keyes said Arab sources, among others, had informed Jerusalem of Obama’s alleged involvement in advancing the resolution.
“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,” Keyes told the US media outlet.
The White House has adamantly denied “cooking up” the resolution, rejecting accusations by Netanyahu to that effect.
“We did not draft this resolution; we did not introduce this resolution. We made this decision when it came up for a vote,” said Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes on Friday. But because of its opposition to settlement activity and concern for what it could mean for the region, the US “could not in good conscience veto,” he added.
Netanyahu held a 40-minute meeting with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro on Sunday evening, having summoned the envoy to explain why the US abstained in the vote on Resolution 2334, enabling it to pass 14-0, rather than vetoing it. He had earlier summoned the envoys of the 12 nations with representatives in Israel that voted for the resolution for a dressing-down at the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier on Sunday, addressing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu reiterated his staunch opposition to Friday’s passage of the resolution, which condemns Israeli settlements and all forms of terrorism and incitement, and blamed Obama for not only withholding a veto but for having been a driving force behind its passing.
“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage,” he said.
Netanyahu is now reaching out to the incoming Trump administration, which takes office on January 20, and to friends in Congress, in the hope of “deterring” what he sees as further potential Obama administration-led diplomatic action against Israel, a report by Channel 2 said. His aim is for the Trump team to make plain that his administration will “economically hurt” those countries that voted against Israel in the UN and that do so in the future.
Netanyahu’s fear is that Secretary of State John Kerry will set out principles or parameters for a Palestinian state in a speech that he has said he will deliver in the next few days on his Middle East vision. The prime minister fears that, in its final days, the Obama administration will seek to have a resolution enshrining those parameters adopted by the UN Security Council, the report said.
On Saturday, Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, canceled the upcoming visit to Israel of the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, as a punitive measure against the country’s vote. He also ordered a series of punitive measures against New Zealand and Senegal, two of the four countries that co-sponsored the resolution. Netanyahu recalled Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to Jerusalem for consultations. He canceled the upcoming visit to Israel of the Senegalese foreign minister and instructed the Foreign Ministry to cancel all aid programs to the African country. He also ordered the cancellation of visits in Israel of the nonresident ambassadors of Senegal and New Zealand.