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Israel furious at Washington’s abstention at UN: ‘This isn’t how friends behave’

Coalition members speak of betrayal and disappointment, while opposition lawmakers say vote was Israel’s comeuppance for Netanyahu’s conduct

Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz Yuval Steinitz seen at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 27, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz Yuval Steinitz seen at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 27, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Israeli officials on reacted with disappointment and anger at Washington’s failure to veto an anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Channel 2 News that the US abstention was “not how friends behave” while cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said the US vote also “spits in the face” of incoming president Donald Trump.

Former general and Kulanu MK Yoav Galant said the US had “abandoned” Israel to its foes.

“One week ago the US armed Israel with the most advanced aircraft in the world because they understood the threats we face in the region, now they have abandoned Israel on the diplomatic battle field in the hands of hostile elements,” Galant said Saturday.

Likud Knesset member Yoav Kisch was quoted by Hebrew language website Ynet as saying that just as US President Barack Obama “betrayed other allies around the world, so he has done to Israel.”

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that “neither the Security Council nor UNESCO will succeed in rewriting history and disconnecting the bond between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel,” referring to UNESCO resolutions earlier this year that ignored Judaism’s connection with the Temple Mount, the Jewish religion’s holiest site.

Danon slammed the US abstention during the vote — an unprecedented move from Israel’s closest ally that has historically vetoed such resolutions.

“It was expected that Israel’s greatest friend act according to its years-long policy of vetoing such one-sided resolutions,” Danon said. “There is no doubt that the change in US administration will usher in a new era.

He added: “The Palestinian efforts to hurt Israel through the UN will not be fruitful and will not advance any solution. The Palestinian will gain nothing until they stop incitement and terrorism and return to direct negotiations with Israel.”

Meanwhile opposition MKs asserted that the beating Israel had taken at the UN was entirely Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fault.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said the vote was Israel’s comeuppance for Netanyahu’s constant clashes with Obama, as well as his support for the the ‘Regulation Law’ to legalize outposts built in Palestinian lands.

“Netanyahu insisted on running headfirst into a wall, knowing that this would be the outcome — and now we are all paying the price,” she said.

“You could blame Obama, but all major countries of the world such as the UK, France, Russia and China supported the resolution against us,” she added.

Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel said Israel “paid a heavy price for Netanyahu’s conduct with Obama. Obama chose the time and place that were most convenient for him and gave Israel a harsh beating that the Trump administration may not so easily fix.”

Shortly before the vote, an Israeli official used unprecedentedly harsh language to accuse the Obama administration of scheming with the Palestinians to harm Israel with the resolution.

“The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” the official said. (The draft resolution refers to East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory.)

Palestinian and Egyptian officials met earlier in the month with State Department officials in Washington, Channel 2 noted Friday evening, and it was in those talks, Israel believes, that plans were coordinated to push through the anti-settlements resolution. Hence the official’s reference to the US administration having “cooked up” the resolution.

“This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration of advancing peace,” the official added.

The US denied the allegations. “Contrary to some claims, the administration was not involved in formulating the resolution nor have we promoted it,” the unnamed official told Reuters.

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