Ehud Barak: UN resolution ‘an unprecedented failure’
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Herzog: Netanyahu has lost control

Ehud Barak: UN resolution ‘an unprecedented failure’

Security Council motion on settlements ‘a heavy blow’ to the Jewish state,’ former PM says, calls for Netanyahu to step down as foreign minister

Former prime minister Ehud Barak at the launch event of the defense news Reporty App in Tel Aviv, March 16, 2016. (Flash90)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak at the launch event of the defense news Reporty App in Tel Aviv, March 16, 2016. (Flash90)

Former prime minister Ehud Barak called Friday’s UN resolution against Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank a “humiliating blow” for Israel and placed blame for the diplomatic fiasco squarely on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The resolution is a heavy blow to Israel,” Barack told Channel 2, adding that it was “Netanyahu’s responsibility.” He called the UN Security Council’s resolution against the Jewish state’s settlements “an unprecedented failure.”

The prime minister’s unwavering support for isolated settlements harms all settlements, he said, adding that the prime minister was “blackmailed” by his far-right coalition allies to back West Bank settlements.

He further tweeted that “the prime minister needs to resign as foreign minister. And of course, blame [US President Barack] Obama, [US Secretary of State John] Kerry, [late PLO leader Yasser] Arafat and the Mufti” of Jerusalem, a previous target of the prime minister’s accusations.”

Netanyahu also serves as Israel’s foreign minister and his allies have rebuffed calls for the country to have a full-time foreign minister in light of the UN Security Council’s vote, in which the US cast an abstention vote, allowing it to pass 14-0.

Samantha Power, center, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes to abstain during a U.N. Security Council vote on condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)
Samantha Power, center, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes to abstain during a U.N. Security Council vote on condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

Following Friday’s vote, Netanyahu on Saturday accused Obama of breaching the US’s commitment to Israel by allowing the Security Council to pass the anti-settlements resolution, comparing him to Jimmy Carter, “a president who was deeply hostile to Israel.”

The prime minister said the UN resolution was “biased and shameful, but we’ll get over it.”

Barak, a former Netanyahu rival and erstwhile ally, joined a chorus of left-wing critics who pointed the finger at the prime minister for the UN vote.

File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Zionist Union leader MK Isaac Herzog in the Knesset, January 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
File: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Zionist Union leader MK Isaac Herzog. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Friday called on Netanyahu to step down if he has “a drop of responsibility left.” On Saturday, following Netanyahu’s speech, Herzog stepped up his criticism.

“Netanyahu has lost control. The man who a month ago told us the world was worshipping us, declared war this evening against the world, the United States and Europe, and is trying to calm us with lies,” Herzog said in a statement following Netanyahu’s remarks on Saturday evening. “We’re all likely to feel (the consequences of) this dangerous madness — all citizens of Israel, right or left wing — on our next visit abroad, (when we will get) hostile treatment.”

Zionist Union number two and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni said that the passage of the UN resolution was Netanyahu’s personal failure and that he “knew and said clearly that the [settlement] regulation bill will bring about a Security Council resolution — and nonetheless conceded to the radical right.”

Centrist Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid railed against the UN resolution, telling reporters it was “dangerous, unfair and Israel doesn’t accept it.”

Yesh Atid party chairman MK Yair Lapid speaks during a party faction meeting at the Knesset, November 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yesh Atid party chairman MK Yair Lapid (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The resolution yesterday was an act of hypocrisy,” Lapid said Saturday. “When a murderous terrorist group like Hamas praises the decision of the Security Council, it’s clear whom it serves.” He criticized left-wing politicians who celebrated the UN decision, saying “patriots don’t behave thus,” but simultaneously flayed Netanyahu’s foreign policy and failure to enlist international support.

Right-wing Israeli lawmakers, however, fumed at the Security Council resolution, and followed Netanyahu’s lead in directing their wrath at Obama. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the administration “can’t atone for its failure in Aleppo with the nasty resolution against the settlements.” Likud MK Oren Hazan wrote on Twitter that “deluded dream of a two-state solution brought out the Hussein in Obama, who refuses to accept the election results.” “Only massive construction will explain to the anti-Semites in the UN that we’re here to stay!” the lawmaker wrote.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Dahan of the Jewish Home party said Israel likened the resolution to the Hanukkah story, saying Israel will overcome the UN “just as the Hasmoneans defeated the Greek empire.”

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