JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration after its refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.
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According to Israeli media reports, the ambassadors summoned for the Israeli prime minister’s dressing down on Sunday include all those from security council members with permanent missions in Israel: Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, France, Britain, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain.
The highly unusual move was seen as particularly aggressive considering it took place on the Christmas Day holiday. A senior diplomat talking to Haaretz said there was general anger in the diplomatic community over the date of the summons: “What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur?”
The resolution, which passed on Friday with 14 votes in support and only the US abstaining, condemned Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as constituting a flagrant violation of international law.
It also demanded that states “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the state of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
Netanyahu also accused the US president, Barack Obama, of directly coordinating the resolution at the morning cabinet meeting. “We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage,” he said. Washington has denied this.
The rebuke came as Israel continued to retaliate against countries that supported the motion, cutting aid to Senegal, cancelling forthcoming official visits – including by the Ukrainian prime minister – and recalling two of its ambassadors.
Netanyahu also ordered the Israeli foreign ministry to “re-evaluate all of our ties to the UN within a month”.
Netanyahu is under renewed political pressure to bring forward controversial legislation to legalise dozens of currently illegal outposts in the occupied Palestinian territories.