Flynn transcript shows Russia opposed Obama UN resolution on Israel

The transcripts show that on December 29, 2016, just days after Resolution 2334 was passed, the Russian ambassador called Trump's adviser.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2019 (photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2019
Russia did not support a UN Security Council Resolution that the Obama administration considered pushing in order to force parameters for a peace agreement on Israel and the Palestinians, as indicated by recently declassified phone conversations between US President Donald Trump's former adviser Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador to the US at the time Sergey Kislyak.
The US and Russia denied reports that in December 2016, soon after then-US president Barack Obama allowed UN Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlement activity to pass, he pushed a second resolution that would be damaging to the Jewish state. The resolution passed because the US abstained, as opposed to its usual veto.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended up convincing Russian President Vladimir Putin to threaten a veto. The resolution was never actually submitted to the UNSC, because it had no chance of passing.
But the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts declassified late last month indicated that the story of Putin’s veto of a second Obama-backed resolution – first reported in Israel Hayom this week and further developed by The Jerusalem Post – is, in fact true.
Netanyahu enlisted then-president-elect Donald Trump and his staff to try to block Resolution 2334. During those efforts, an Israeli source told the Post this week, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon found out that a second resolution was on the way.
The resolution would have forced parameters for a peace agreement on Israel and the Palestinians, including a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders, and was “more like what the Palestinians want and very far from the Trump plan,” the source said. Netanyahu once again appealed to Trump’s team, as well as to Moscow.
THE TRANSCRIPTS show that on December 29, 2016, just days after Resolution 2334 passed, Kislyak called Flynn.
"Since you were interested in the issue of the Middle East and you called me on that issue," the ambassador said, "we wanted to convey to you and through you to the president-elect that we have significant reservations about the idea of adopting now the principles for the Middle East that our American colleagues are pushing for."
Kislyak added: "So we are not going to support it in the quartet or in the Security Council, and we have conveyed [that] to our American colleagues."
The ambassador reiterated: "It's not something that we – Russia – are going to support."
Flynn responded: "Okay, that's good."
Kislyak said Russia was taking into account that US policies may change under Trump and that their Middle East staff was interested in speaking with Trump's advisers on the matter.
Later in the conversation, Flynn said: "I appreciate very much the reservations about the current administration's position on the Middle East. That does not do anybody any good right now with... the situation with Hamas and the Palestinian situation. I mean, we'll come up with a solution that's good for everybody."
Kislyak explained that Russian reservations were more about the process than the content of the American proposal: "You cannot just create facts on the ground that are not going to be implemented afterwards."
Flynn said, "Now remember, ambassador, you're not talking to a diplomat; you're talking to a soldier, so I'm a very practical guy, and it's about solutions."
Flynn and Kislyak discussed Syria in the same conversation. The adviser also asked Russia not to respond too strongly to a US crackdown on cybersecurity matters.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied on Wednesday night that Putin stopped the resolution, calling it "disinformation," "absurd allegations" and "absolutely fantastic."
Zakharova pointed out that Russia already recognized a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders in 1988, and reaffirmed Russia's position in support of direct negotiations for a two-state solution, which is why she said it would be "incredible" for Russia to oppose a resolution stating exactly that.
Dan Shapiro, who was US ambassador to Israel in 2016, denied the story, as well.
“I don’t know anything about promises Putin might have made, and I certainly wouldn’t trust him," he said. "The idea that Israel had to be rescued by a Russian veto is false. There was no second resolution planned, and the first [Resolution 2334] wasn’t our initiative,” adding that “the Israeli administration knew that at the time.”
RESOLUTION 2334 technically was not a US initiative – Venezuela, Senegal, New Zealand and Malaysia were the sponsors - but in 2019, a New York Times Magazine article featured a quote from an anonymous member of the Obama White House saying that they ensured the vote would only take place after the November 2016 election in order not to scare donors away from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. An Israeli source said this week that Obama aides worked on the text as well.
In October, about two months before Resolution 2334 passed, journalist David Ze'ev Jablinowitz – who was a correspondent for Israel Radio in 2016 – spoke to Obama and confirmed that part of the story. The then-president told Jablinowitz that he "had a resolution in the works that would set the parameters for an Israeli-Palestinian final-status agreement that would include a Palestinian state and would include a time frame by which such talks should be completed," the journalist recounted.
"The impression I got from him was that he wanted to show he was a friend of Israel, but [the resolution] was all about Netanyahu and the right-wing," he added.
Jablinowitz suggested to Obama that he tell the staff of the US Embassy to Israel to reach out to the Zionist parties in the Knesset, suggesting that while the Israeli Left may want a two-state solution, they might not like it being imposed by a UNSC resolution. An Obama aide later contacted Jablinowitz to tell him he was right; Labor and Meretz, in addition to everyone to their Right, did not support the idea.   
 A senior staffer of one of the parties in the Knesset at the time confirmed on Thursday that embassy staff asked him about a hypothetical resolution and said he was going to ask all the parties in the Knesset the same question.
Netanyahu hinted at the story of Putin’s veto in an election rally in Ma’aleh Adumim in February, but a clearer picture came out of the Israel Hayom article this week, which said the prime minister told the full story “in a closed meeting” this week.