Israel Summons US Ambassador As Netanyahu Lashes Out At Obama
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday (Dec.25) on the Obama administration after its refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.
The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it — as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel, leading to US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro being summoned, an Israeli official told CNN Sunday.
“We can confirm Ambassador Shapiro will meet with PM Netanyahu this evening. We will have no other details to offer,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN.
Ambassadors from 10 countries that supported the resolution were summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry, but not to a meeting with Netanyahu.
Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said Monday (Dec. 26) that Netanyahu called in Shapiro for a face-to-face meeting because the US is “the only country where we have any expectation to actually stand with us at the United Nations.”
“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang up,” Dermer told CNN’s “New Day,” echoing the case Netanyahu laid out a day earlier.
Netanyahu said Sunday of the UN resolution that “we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”
Netanyahu also took aim at the US Secretary of State, adding in English: “As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”
His office released a copy of the remarks, with translation, on his website.
“Over decades American administrations and Israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said.
Israel is also concerned about another resolution at the United Nations Security Council that would impose terms for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren. “We cannot dismiss any possibility,” Oren told CNN.
Such a resolution could be presented in the coming days or following a January 15 international peace conference organized by France. Israel has said it will not attend the conference which is scheduled to held in Paris. A resolution on parameters for negotiations could lay out positions on Jerusalem, borders, Palestinian refugees, and a time table for negotiations.
Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, “We have iron-clad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world.”
US officials did not immediately respond to CNN questions about the comments, but on Friday, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes rejected similar accusations.
“President Obama’s track record on Israel’s security is clear. Anybody can review it. But, in fact, I’d take umbrage at language that suggests that this was our preferred course of action and that we initiated it,” Rhodes said.
“With respect to this resolution, we did not draft this resolution; we did not introduce this resolution. The Egyptians, in partnership with the Palestinians, are the ones who began circulating an earlier draft of the resolution. The Egyptians are the ones who moved it forward (Thursday). And we took the position that we did when it was put to a vote.”
Husam Zomlot, senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Bash he believed Kerry wasn’t involved in pushing for the resolution and that the US “just cast its position based on its long-held policy.”
Zomlot said remarks by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power after the vote “represents the long-standing, unwavering policy of the US that considers settlements to be illegal and must cease.”