Israel's political ranks unite against UN resolution

From calls to annex Ma'ale Adumim to accusations against Netanyahu, via broad criticism of the US, Israel's politicians speak up against the UN resolution.

December 25, 2016 11:05
3 minute read.
A soldier stands next to a bus stop with a pro-Trump poster near the West Bank Jewish settlement of

A soldier stands next to a bus stop with a pro-Trump poster near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The UN Security Council vote on Friday night regarding Israeli settlements, and the US abstention, has caused convulsions across the political spectrum in Jerusalem.

The resolution passed with 14 votes to none in favor, becoming the first resolution in eight years that the Security Council adopted on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In the time that has passed, the country has expressed every emotion from shock, mostly in the form of dismay and plain outrage, with comment and condemnation from ministers, government officials and of course- from the Israeli public.

Immediately after the resolution passed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed his rage primarily at US President Barack Obama, who days before was urged to exercise his country's ability to exercise a veto. "Yesterday, in stark contrast to this commitment [to not dictate terms of a permanent settlement to Israel through the UN], the Obama administration took a shameful anti-Israel step at the UN."

Netanyahu also expressed concern that the resolution will put a damper on any possible development in the peace process. "..the decision not only does not bring peace closer, but it makes it more distant," he said.
Netanyahu: Israel to reassess UN ties after settlement vote

On Sunday morning, Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett gave an exclusive interview to Army Radio, where he expressed his own extreme dissatisfaction with the resolution. "Thousands of terrorists in the world are looking at the UN resolution and seeing it as a recruitment call," he said.

Describing the consequences he predicted would come as a result, Bennett added: "Terrorists will say: 'people who run over children and those who look to stab Israelis are those who will be profiting.'"

Bennett also offered his vision of a response. According to him, the government should now push ahead with the annexation of Ma'ale Adumim, the large settlement town seven kilometers east of Jerusalem.

"We have already tried the Left's path, now the time has come to try the path that we're offering- sovereignty. Take the maximum amount of territory with the minimal amount of Palestinians. We'll hand in a a bill regarding Ma'ale Adumim first," he clarified.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked echoed Bennett's sentiments in a Facebook post published on Saturday night, as the festival of Hannukah began. Shaked wrote that "the Security Council's decision on the eve of the Hanukkah holiday is reminiscent of something from our history. Only this time we're strong enough that this decision will not change our strength, not in the least bit."

Shaked then directed her criticism directly at the UN. "There's something so lame about this moment when the Security Council votes on an anti-Israeli resolution and everyone claps. It's a moment that signifies all the corruption in this body that's called the UN."

Yet more determined opposition was raised by UN ambassador Danny Danon, who joined Netanyahu in his rebuke of the Obama administration. "If the US would not have abstained in the vote, other countries would have followed suit and rejected the resolution against Israel," Danon told Israel Radio in an interview on Sunday morning.

Danon chose to end his statement on an optimistic note, expressing hope that the change in American government will help stabilize the effects of the resolution. "I hope that the new government, headed by President-elect Donald Trump, will correct the damage that was now done and go on to support Israel," he said.

Prominent Israeli opposition members criticized the resolution too, but claimed that Netanyahu was to blame just as much as the US administration. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said he strongly opposed the White House's decision and that America should have vetoed the resolution, but that if Israel had a different government that was more balanced and responsible, the outcome could have been prevented. Herzog said he warned Netanyahu for months that this could happen and he “closed his ears.”

“Netanyahu gambled on the future of Israel and sold out its security for a few mandates from Bayit Yehudi,” MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said. “He knew that promoting the outpost bill would lead to a decision by the Security Council and yet he still surrendered to the extreme Right. Netanyahu must go home.”

Netanyahu himself, however, seems to believe that the resolution can still be mended. Comparing the current resolution to a 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism, he stated: "It took time, but that decision has been cancelled, it will take time and this resolution will also be cancelled."

Herb Keinon, Michael Wilner and Danielle Ziri contributed to this report.

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