Days after the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN Security Council resolution to condemn Israel’s settlement policy in over 30 years, an American Jewish advocacy group has called for a congressional review of what it called a “seismic shift” in US foreign policy.
In a Wednesday statement, the American Jewish Congress (not to be confused with the American Jewish Committee) said the Obama administration needed to answer “serious questions” following its abstention from the UN Security Council vote on Resolution 2334, which demands Israel end all settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“The US refusing to veto a one-sided, anti-Israel biased resolution… puts Israel in international legal jeopardy and takes the position that the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, are no longer a part of Israel,” the group said.
“We urge the US Congress to investigate the actions taken by the Obama administration leading up to the vote,” the group said. “Such a seismic shift in America foreign policy in the transition period must be fully reviewed and accounted for.”
The statement further expressed concern over reports of “additional harmful resolutions at the UNSC.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2334, passed Friday, demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” It passed 14-0, with the United States abstaining.
By declining to use its veto, the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.
The resolution infuriated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lashed out at US President Barack Obama, accusing him and his administration of colluding with the Palestinians, and vowed not to abide by it.
Israel in response summoned ambassadors and deputy ambassadors of countries that voted for the “shameful” resolution, while Netanyahu met personally with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said it was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies of nations that voted for it.
As Israel reacted with fury, US Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to offer a “comprehensive vision” of how to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a speech due to be delivered on Wednesday.
“We haven’t given up on this and we don’t think the Israelis and Palestinians should do either,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters a day earlier.
According to a Wednesday report on Army Radio, the Jerusalem municipality called off a discussion set for later that day regarding the issuing of permits for hundreds of new homes in East Jerusalem.
The measure was pulled from the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee’s agenda at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the report said.
Israeli settlements are built on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state and seen as illegal under international law.
Some 430,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians envision the capital of their future state.
US President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20, has signaled far more favorable policy toward Israel and had called for the United States to veto the resolution.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.