Trump: Israel treated ‘very, very unfairly’ at United Nations
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Trump: Israel treated ‘very, very unfairly’ at United Nations

President-elect claims he’s ’very, very strong on Israel,’ refuses to answer question on whether settlement building should stop; says Kerry’s speech ‘speaks for itself’

US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from the media after a day of meetings on December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (AFP/Don Emmert)
US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from the media after a day of meetings on December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (AFP/Don Emmert)

In the wake of a speech by outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry on his vision for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that Israel was being treated “very, very unfairly” in the international sphere, and that countries that are “horrible places” never get reprimanded.

Trump was speaking to reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in what became his longest question-and-answer session since he won the presidential election last month.

He refused to directly answer a question about whether Israel should stop building settlements, saying he was “very, very strong on Israel.”

Trump said Israel is “up for 20 reprimands” at the United Nations, whereas nations that are “horrible places, that treat people horribly, haven’t even been reprimanded.”

Earlier, Trump issued a short response to Kerry’s Wednesday speech — in which he described settlements as an important obstacle to achieving an agreement between the sides and charged that Israeli actions in the West Bank were putting the two-state solution “in serious jeopardy” — saying the address “speaks for itself.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US Secretary of State John Kerry speak to the press during a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015. (AFP/Pool/Atef Safadi)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US Secretary of State John Kerry speak to the press during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015. (AFP/Pool/Atef Safadi)

Kerry argued that settlement construction in the West Bank was being “strategically placed in locations that make two states impossible” and said the “the status quo is leading toward one state, or perpetual occupation.” He also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists, singling out Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, and slammed attempts to isolate and legitimize Israel in the United Nations and elsewhere.

Trump’s comments, and Kerry’s speech, followed a decision last week by the United Nations Security Council condemning the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, that was allowed to pass due to US refusal to use its veto power, opting to abstain.

The move drew fierce criticism from Israel, with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the Obama administration of colluding with the Palestinians to push the resolution though, and charging that the US had abandoned and ambushed Israel.

Netanyahu had said that he looked forward to working with Trump, his administration and Congress to reverse the resolution.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump had lashed out at the Obama administration over the decision not to veto last week, and urged Israel to “stay strong,” as January 20, inauguration day, “is fast approaching!”

Taking to his preferred medium of Twitter, the Republican president-elect said that Washington cannot continue to treat Israel “with such total disdain and disrespect.”

Trump also implied that under Obama, the US was no longer “a great friend” to the Jewish state.

“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but…” Trump wrote. “Not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (UN)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the tweet minutes after it was posted, thanking Trump for his “warm friendship and your clear-cut support.” He also included the Twitter handles of Trump’s children Ivanka and Eric Jr.

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