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Netanyahu vows to defy United Nations over Israel settlements resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not abide by Friday’s United Nations resolution condemning construction of Israeli settlements. (Gali Tibbon, Pool via AP)

December 24, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not abide by Friday’s United Nations resolution condemning construction of Israeli settlements.

“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement after President Obama declined to exercise the United States’ veto power.

Defying the resolution could put Israel on a collision course with the U.N., given the requirement that member states “carry out and accept the decisions of the Security Council” under the terms of the charter.

“At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory,'” Netanyahu’s statement said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power similarly faulted the U.N. for targeting Israel with a barrage of hostile resolutions in explaining why the United States would not vote for the resolution. But the ongoing construction of settlements in disputed Palestinian territory, she said, justified allowing it to pass without a veto. “Our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history of how American presidents have approached both the issue and the role of this body,” Power said.

Although Obama’s advisers maintained that his team did not make a final decision on whether to veto or abstain from voting on the resolution until Friday, Netanyahu accused them of “colluding” with Israel’s enemies at the U.N.

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the U.N., it colluded with it behind the scenes,” the statement from Netanyahu’s office said. “Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trimp and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful affects of this absurd resolution.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.N. resolution was a necessary tool for preserving the possibility of peace talks, because Israel has persisted in building the controversial settlements.

“Two states is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors, and freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people,” Kerry said Friday afternoon. “That future is now in jeopardy, with terrorism, violence and incitement continuing and unprecedented steps to expand settlements being advanced by avowed opponents of the two state solution.”