Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, December 7, 2014..
(photo credit:EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday lauded the US and Australia for voting against the Palestinian UN Security Council draft resolution on Tuesday, and praised Rwanda and Nigeria for abstaining.
"I want to express appreciation and gratitude to the United States and Australia, as well as special appreciation to the President of Rwanda, my friend Paul Kagame, and to the President of Nigeria, my friend Goodluck Jonathan,” Netanyahu said when he arrived Wednesday morning to vote in the Likud primary.
“I spoke with both of them, they promised me personally that they would not support this decision, and they stood by their words. That is what tipped the scales," he added.
The Palestinian resolution calling for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 2017, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, did not muster the necessary nine votes Tuesday in the Security Council.
Earlier Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Palestinian failure to get their statehood resolution
passed Wednesday in the UN Security Council should teach them that provocations and attempts to unilaterally impose conditions on Israel will lead them nowhere.
“The Palestinian disregard for important countries in the international arena, first and foremost the US, stems from the backing they get form some of the states in Europe,” he said, in an obvious reference to the “for” votes cast by France and Luxembourg.
“Every state that truly wants to move an arrangement forward needs to act responsibly and make clear to the Palestinians that decisions are only made around the negotiating table,” Liberman said.
While France and Luxembourg voted for the Palestinian resolution, two other EU countries – Britain and Lithuania – abstained, illustrating the wide differences on the Mideast that exist inside the 28-state EU.
Liberman praised his ministry for the work it did to thwart the resolution, the second time in three years that Israel dodged a bullet on this issue in the Security Council, and cited Israel's concentrated diplomatic efforts in Africa, the far East and central Europe. In 2011 the Palestinians failed in their attempt to win full UN statehood recognition in the UN.
In addition to the United States, Australia voted against the resolution on Tuesday. Britain, Lithuania, South Korea, and two of the three African states on the Security Council – Rwanda and Nigeria – all abstained, depriving the Palestinians of their nine votes needed to pass the resolution and force a US veto.
Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz expressed his criticism of the draft Palestinian statehood bid, despite its failure to pass the Security Council vote.
"The Palestinian failure to secure a vote in the UN Security Council does not mitigate the Palestinian Authorities hostile and unilateral political offensive against Israel," he charged a day after the vote.
Steinitz said it was "a worrying sign" that France and Britain - two of Israel's allies - supported the resolution or abstained from the vote on it.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren also came out against the Palestinian move, saying its unilateral attempt to push a statehood motion through an international body proved that the PA did not seek to negotiate peace with Israel.
"The Palestinian leadership proved once again that its not interested in peace with its attempt to force a state on us, via the UN," said Oren, who is planning to run in the March elections on the new Koolanu party ballot.
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