Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Tuesday rebuked the Security Council over an anti-settlements resolution it approved last month. The ambassador said Resolution 2334 emboldens Palestinian obstinacy and distances peace, and hinted that it also provided a tailwind for terror.
The United Nations Security Council convened to discuss “the Palestinian question” in the wake of a mounting campaign in world bodies to restart stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The meeting was the first on the conflict since the Security Council’s 15 member states passed the resolution on December 23, 2016. The adoption of the resolution drew a furious reaction from Jerusalem, in particular against the US, which abstained rather than vetoing the measure.
It was also the last meeting to be held on the subject while US President Barack Obama is in the White House. President-elect Donald Trump, who blasted the resolution as a “big loss” for Israel, will be sworn in on Friday.
Renewed concerns that another anti-Israel resolution would be brought to the council were dampened over the last two days by US support for a softened text at a peace conference in Paris, London’s refusal to sign on to that document and promises from Washington that the Obama administration won’t allow another anti-Israel resolution during its last days in office.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Netanyahu in a phone call from Paris that the US would not countenance any new measures against Israel at the Security Council ahead of the Trump inauguration.
During his address, Danon brandished the photographs of four Israeli soldiers killed last week in a truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, quoting Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and linking it to the Security Council resolution.
“The day after the Security Council vote, Fatah, the movement of [Palestinian leader] Mahmoud Abbas, posted a cartoon on their official Facebook page. It showed a dagger in the shape of a map of Israel colored with Palestinian flag. Not Judea and Samaria; all of Israel. Under the dagger was a pool of blood and next to it said, ‘Thank you’ and listed each Council member who voted for the shameful resolution,” said Danon.
“For Israel, peace is not a convenient ploy we raise in international forums. It is an essential part of all of our prayers,” he continued. “Last month’s resolution has set us back in pursuit of peace.”
The resolution lashed Israel for its settlements policy, calling Israel’s civilian presence beyond the pre-1967 Green Line a “flagrant violation” of international law.
Danon said it was a reward for the Palestinians that encouraged them “to continue down a dangerous path they have chosen” of avoiding direct negotiations with Israel.
“This council may have thought it would send a message to Israel but you instead sent a message to the Palestinians that they should continue to spread their lies,” he said, adding that the Palestinian actions show that “this conflict is not about settlements, but about the refusal to accept Israel in any borders.”
The Security Council gathering comes two days after the one-day peace conference in Paris, which featured representatives from over 70 countries – but not Israel or the Palestinian Authority.
Israel’s new Foreign Ministry chief, Yuval Rotem, on Monday hailed what he described as the lackluster outcome of the Paris meet, calling it a victory for Israel and saying Jerusalem’s decision not to show up sent a message to the international community.
“The fact that the Paris conference has no followup is from our perspective the most meaningful accomplishment,” Rotem told Israel Radio.
The Paris summit was the second such gathering in the past year to be hosted by France with the aim of setting a concrete agenda for renewed peace efforts.
The meeting’s concluding statement imposed “no new obligations” on Israel and “finished without any mechanism to apply or follow up” on the provisions it laid out for achieving peace, Rotem said.
Netanyahu dismissed the meeting as “a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.”
Israeli leaders were scathing in their criticism of the December UN resolution, with Netanyahu noting that it attempted to define as illegal the presence of Jews in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City of Jerusalem, as well as Israel’s presence at the Temple Mount holy site.