Israel will re-assess its ties with the United Nations following the adoption by the Security Council of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.
The vote was able to pass the 15-member council on Friday because the United States broke with a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power as it had on many times before – a decision that Netanyahu called “shameful”.
“I instructed the Foreign Ministry to complete within a month a re-evaluation of all our contacts with the United Nations, including the Israeli funding of U.N. institutions and the presence of U.N. representatives in Israel,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks.
“I have already instructed to stop about 30 million shekels ($7.8 million) in funding to five U.N. institutions, five bodies, that are especially hostile to Israel … and there is more to come,” he said.
“We will do all it takes so Israel emerges unscathed from this shameful decision,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader did not name the institutions or offer any further details.
Defying heavy pressure from long-time ally Israel and President-elect Donald Trump for Washington to use its veto, the United States abstained in the Security Council decision, which passed with 14 votes in favor.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it began summoning the ambassadors of countries who voted in favor of the resolution, including those from the permanent members of the Security Council – Russia, China, the U.K. and France. The U.S. ambassador was not being summoned because it had abstained and not voted in favor, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
In addition to the measures declared Sunday, Israel has recalled its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultations and canceled a planned January visit to Israel by Senegal’s foreign minister. A visit by Ukraine’s prime minister has also been canceled in light of its support for the U.N. vote.
Israel for decades has pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbors including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees, citing a biblical connection to the land.
Lashes out at Obama
Netanyahu lashed out at President Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing him of a “shameful ambush” at the United Nations over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his “friend” President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump also condemned the U.N. vote Saturday, taking to Twitter to say it “will make it much harder to negotiate peace.” But, he added, “we will get it done anyway.”
A year ago, Trump told The Associated Press that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues, but his comments became much more pro-Israel as the race progressed and he took a sharp tone against the Palestinians.
The White House declined to comment on Netanyahu’s criticism.
The U.S. and much of the international community consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as an obstacle to peace. Netanyahu rejects such claims, blaming the failure of peace efforts on the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel’s Jewish identity.
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