Vice President Joe Biden is being accused of convincing Ukraine to vote in favor of the United Nations Resolution 2334 Friday that condemned Israel for building housing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Eklin told the Jerusalem Post Monday that Biden persuaded Ukrainian diplomats to vote yes on the measure, who would have reportedly abstained if he hadn’t.
A member of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s office told the Jerusalem Post that Biden had indeed called, but was unable to confirm whether or not their discussion involved the Friday U.N. vote.
Biden’s office has adamantly responded that Eklin’s allegation that the vice president had anything to do with the U.N. vote was false. Such a move by Biden could signify the role President Barack Obama might have played behind scenes of the vote. But a statement from the vice president’s office released on Dec. 19 said the phone conversation between Biden and Poroshenko had been about making improvements to Ukraine’s banking sector.
The Vice President called Ukrainian President Poroshenko last week to discuss PrivatBank and other issues specific to Ukraine,” the vice president’s communications director, Kate Bedingfield, said. “He did not discuss the U.N. Security Council resolution.”
Despite heavy pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the U.S. to veto the measure, it abstained from voting, resulting in the U.N. Security Council approving the resolution with 14 votes to 0.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, was the only member to raise hand her hand during the vote as the lone abstention.
Netanyahu summoned Israel’s leading ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Shapiro Sunday while issuing harsh words for the Obama administration following the vote, CNN reported Monday.
“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” Netanyahu said Sunday.
The Obama administration has had a history of disapproving Israel’s plans to expand building housing settlements in the much-contested area of the West Bank. Palestinian authorities have claimed the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem as being part of their future state.
Alternatively, Netanyahu was looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, who tweeted on Saturday that “things will be different” at the U.N. after he is inaugurated.
“The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” Trump tweeted.