TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that President Barack Obama may have more surprises in store for Israel following the U.S.’s “shameful” abstention at the United Nations.
Netanyahu’s warning to Likud ministers came after summoning twelve ambassadors to reprimand them for their countries’ support of an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council.
The premier, who also serves as Israel’s Foreign Minister, called in the ambassadors of China, Russia, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Ukraine and Uruguay to Jerusalem. The ambassadors for the UK and Spain were not in the country so their deputies were summoned instead.
Senegal and New Zealand – who presented Friday’s anti-settlement resolution – do not have embassies in Israel but scheduled visits from their non-resident ambassadors were cancelled on Netanyahu’s orders. The other two countries that presented the resolution, Venezuela and Malaysia, have no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Netanyahu recalled Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal and said he would curtail Israeli aid to the latter.
Resolution 2334 declares all settlements illegal under international law and demands that Israel immediately cease construction in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, and other territories captured in the 1967 defensive war.
The prime minister warned ministers from his party that they should refrain from talk about annexing parts of the West Bank, since Obama may have more tricks up his sleeve.
After the vote was passed, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called for Israel to apply Israeli law and full sovereignty over the main West Bank settlements.
Netanyahu accused Washington of having a direct hand in the Security Council resolution.
“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage,” he said.
“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments have disagreed about settlements. But we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said.
“We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away. As I told [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry on Thursday: Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”
However, Netanyahu said he was “encouraged” by statements of support from both Democrat and Republican allies in the U.S.
“They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was; they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory. I look forward to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month,” he said at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu also repeated his promise to cut funding to UN agencies that were “hostile” to Israel.
The prime minister on Saturday canceled an official visit to Israel by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in protest of Ukraine’s vote in favor of the resolution.
The premier also canceled an upcoming visit to Israel from Senegal’s foreign minister.
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