Dov Weisglass (L) looks on as former prime minister Ariel Sharon speaks at the Madison Hotel in Washington in 2002.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to the passage of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a halt to settlements is serving to fulfill the Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally, Dov Weisglass, who served as former prime minister Ariel Sharon's chief of staff, said Tuesday.
Netanyahu's response to the resolution included recalling Israel’s ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand, summoning in for protests the ambassadors and representatives of all the UN Security Council states, canceling the scheduled visit this week of the Ukrainian prime minister and calling on his ministers to curtail visits to the 14 Security Council states that voted for the measure.
"I see [Netanyahu's] response mainly as ridiculous. The attempt to create symmetry between us and the rest of the world and to punish the 14 countries that voted against us is actually making the Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally into reality," Weisglass said in an interview with Army Radio.
Netanyahu: Israel to reassess UN ties after settlement vote
He said that the summoning of ambassadors to be reprimanded was a display of "rudeness" on Netanyahu's part. "To summon foreign ambassadors on a Sunday, especially on Christmas, is simply an elementary lack of manners. I think these reprimands are making people laugh in the foreign embassies involved. Even Senegal is not scared," Weisglass quipped. He said that the moves were an example of Netanyahu playing to his own political base in Israel.
Wesiglass said that the US decision not to veto the resolution was in keeping with the position of the current US administration and previous US administrations.
"Neither this administration, nor previous administrations ever liked the idea of the settlements, Weisglass said. "The US never recognized, not only the annexation of east Jerusalem, but didn't recognize our sovereignty over west Jerusalem, therefore the embassy wasn't in Jerusalem even before 1967. This is the traditional stance of the American government and we always had disagreements."
Weisglass rejected the notion that this view was unique to the Obama administration. "I was chief of staff during the tenure of a president who was considered very friendly to Israel, George W. Bush, and 80% of the disagreements with the Bush administration were over the question of settlements," he said.
Weisglass expressed doubt over claims that the US was secretly behind the resolution. Israel Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer told CNN Monday
that Israel has clear evidence that the US was behind the move and that this evidence would be presented to President-elect Donald Trump when he takes office.
"In my eyes it is rudeness when an ambassador dares to poke his nose into the US decision-making apparatus. I would like to see what this evidence is. I think that this resolution was not at all unexpected, it is the traditional position of the administration. I don't believe that the administration initiated the resolution," Weisglass said.
"To expect the administration to veto a resolution whose text is in line with the US position over the last 50 years - there is a limit to how much they can appear to work in the service of Israel at any price and in all circumstances, including to levy a veto on a position that is their own clearly stated position," he added.
Weisglass said that the world could come to accept Israel's position that the time is not ripe for an agreement with the Palestinians at this point, but they would not accept Israeli expansion of settlements that would make such an agreement impossible in the future.
"If a million Jews are settled in Judea and Samaria, and that is the dream of a significant political sector in Israel, it's clear that any future peace talks, even 50 years from now, will be a farce, because the agreement will be impossible," he said.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.