December 25, 2016 6:15:24 pm
Israel pressed forward with promises of retaliation and damage control today following a UN vote last week on an anti-settlement resolution that passed thanks to an abstention by the US, Israel’s close ally. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it began summoning the ambassadors of countries who voted in favour of the resolution, including those from the permanent members of the Security Council Russia, China, the UK and France.
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The US ambassador was not being summoned because it had abstained and not voted in favour, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. Speaking to a weekly meeting of his Cabinet today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was also considering a “plan of action” against the UN, without elaborating.
“We will do all it takes so Israel emerges unscathed from this shameful decision,” Netanyahu said. The resolution, which condemned Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, sparked outrage in Israel and led to a new low in relations between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama. Israel has accused Obama of colluding with the Palestinians against the Jewish state.
“We feel betrayed, extremely frustrated. We are angry. This is not how you treat friends,” said Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz. The resolution’s immediate impact appears to be largely symbolic, but Israel fears it could open the door to an increase in international steps, including economic measures. Much of the international community considers the settlements illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.
In addition to the measures declared today, Israel has recalled its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultations and cancelled a planned January visit to Israel by Senegal’s foreign minister.
A visit by Ukraine’s prime minister has also been cancelled in light of its support for the UN vote and Israel has pledged to cut millions of shekels in funding to certain UN agencies.
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