The UN Security Council passed a controversial anti-settlement resolution that condemns Israel building in occupied territories.
The US abstained in the vote that was approved by 14 of the council’s 15 members to applause. The resolution first introduced by Egypt in coordination with the Palestinians calls Israel “settlement building” in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank a “flagrant violation under international law” and demands Israel discontinue all settlement activities immediately.
A veto by the US – or any of the five permanent members of the council- would have killed it.
Speaking to the body after the vote, Susan Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, explained why the White House did not rise to defeat it.
“Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel,” she said.
Power said the White House stand on the issue was consistent with presidential policy going back to the Johnson administration.
“The U.S. has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for five decades,” she said.
President-elect Donald Trump, who was involved in the negotiations with Egypt over the resolution, said the US’ policies regarding Israel will soon change.
“As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.,” he tweeted.
Moments after the vote, Sen. Tom Cotton laid the blame for passage of the resolution directly at the feet of President Obama, who came under withering criticism over the last couple of days as his administration dithered as the resolution its way through the security council.
“President Obama is personally responsible for this anti-Israel resolution. His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it. This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama’s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history,” Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said in a statement.
The Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said the United States betrayed Israel.
“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share – and would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” he said.
Josh Block, head of the Israeli Project, said the UN has lost all credibility and condemned the Obama administration from not stopping the resolution.
“Siding with such an abomination, ignoring universal calls to stand with our ally Israel, including from all the Democratic leaders in Congress, as well as Republicans, has again isolated this administration from the Democratic Party and further underscores the unusual, extreme and harmful foreign policy of this administration,” Block said in a statement.
“Obama has made it clear that he’s a Jew hating, anti-Semite. He likes Jews who are his friends but not Jews in general,” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionists Organization of America, the country’s oldest pro-Israel organization, before the vote was taken. “Obama is sticking it to the Jewish state of Israel” if the US. abstains or supports the resolution, Klein said on Friday.
Sen. Charles Schumer said he strongly urged the White House to veto the resolution.
“Whatever one’s views are on settlements, anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region knows that the UN, with its onesidedness, is exactly the wrong forum to bring about peace,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
“I have spoken directly to the Administration numerous times … and in the strongest terms possible urged them to veto this resolution. I am strongly opposed to the UN putting pressure on Israel through one-sided resolutions. An abstention is not good enough. The Administration must veto this resolution,” the statement said.
A vote had been planned on the resolution for Thursday, but Egypt backed off under pressure from Israel.Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hearing that the White House may have abstained from the vote or would not veto the measure, began a flurry of diplomatic maneuvers and even reached out to Trump to enlist his support.
That led Trump to tweet out Thursday: “The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed.”
After Egypt backed off the resolution, four other countries on the Security Council – New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal – said they would go ahead and introduce it.
If the president does nothing to stop the resolution, Klein said Obama will be “siding with the Islamic terrorists.”
He also said he has talked to Republicans in Congress who told him they will move to strike the $600 million in aid the US provides to the Palestinian Authority if the resolution is approved.
Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for US ambassadors to the UN in Republican administrations, said the stakes are too high for Obama to be on the sidelines.
“The Obama team is playing politics at the UN as they walk out the door. There is little regard for the consequences of their anti-Israel actions. It’s shameful,” he said.
This article was published by NYPost and may be found here.