By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — December 25, 2016 … Following an UN Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlements, a resolution that Barack Obama allowed to pass with 14 votes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Elect Donald Trump and Jewish leaders responded with pure revulsion.
“Citizens of Israel, I would like to reassure you. The resolution that was adopted yesterday at the United Nations is distorted and shameful but we will overcome it, said Netanyahu.
“The resolution determines that the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem is ‘occupied territory’. This is delusional. The resolution determines that the Western Wall is ‘occupied territory’. This too is delusional. There is nothing more absurd than calling the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter occupied territory. There is also an attempt here, which will not succeed, to impose permanent settlement terms on Israel. You might recall that the last one who tried to do this was Carter, an extremely hostile president to Israel, and who just recently said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Carter passed sweeping decisions against us at the UN of a similar kind, and this was also unsuccessful. We opposed this and nothing happened.”
Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, reacted angrily to the vote.
“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” he said.
Donald Trump, who has promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and has nominated an ambassador in David Friedman who is supportive of settlers, pledged that the Palestinians would no longer have a platform at the UN when he is inaugurated next month.
In a Cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem today, Netanyahu said: “I share ministers’ feelings, anger and frustration vis-à-vis the unbalanced resolution that is very hostile to the State of Israel, and which the UN Security Council passed in an unworthy manner. From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed. This is, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement, like any issue related to them in the Security Council, and, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself, in 2011, to refrain from such steps.”
Netanyahu continued: “We will do whatever is necessary so that Israel will not be damaged by this shameful resolution and I also tell the ministers here, we must act prudently, responsibly and calmly, in both actions and words. I ask ministers to act responsibly as per the directives that will be given today at the Security Cabinet meeting immediately following this meeting. I have also asked the Foreign Ministry to prepare an action plan regarding the UN and other international elements, which will be submitted to the Security Cabinet within one month. Until then, of course, we will consider our steps.”
“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away.
And, as I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council. I’m encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was, they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory.
I look forward to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month. And I take this opportunity to wish Israel’s Christian citizens and our Christian friends around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
A few hours ago, Netanyahu made an unexpected visit to the Western Wall.
“I did not plan to be here this evening but in light of the UN resolution I thought that there was no better place to light the second Chanukah candle than the Western Wall. According to the UN resolution, the Maccabees did not liberate Jerusalem, they occupied Palestinian territory. According to the UN resolution, the villages that they started out from in the Modi’in area, those villages and that area were ‘occupied Palestinian territory’.
Of course the Palestinians arrived much later. We were in these places. We will return to these places and I ask those same countries that wish us a Happy Hanukkah how they could vote for a UN resolution which says that this place, in which we are now celebrating Hanukkah, is occupied territory.
The Western Wall is not occupied. The Jewish Quarter is not occupied. Other land and places are not occupied either. Therefore, we do not accept, nor can we accept, this resolution. We are certain of our future just as we are certain of our past. And here I would like to light Chanukah candles on behalf of the Glory of Israel. Happy Chanukah.”
Netanyahu has instructed members of his cabinet to refrain from traveling to countries that voted for the UN resolution.
Following the UN vote, Netanyahu recalled Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal and canceled scheduled trips to Israel by the Senegalese foreign minister and Ukraine’s prime minister.
He also said that Israeli aid to Senegal will be canceled and that contributions Israel makes to five U.N. agencies will be halted.
Ten envoys were called in on Christmas morning for meetings with directors of the Foreign Ministry’s respective regional departments, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.
In regards to Great Britain and Spain, the deputy ambassadors were summoned because their respective bosses are currently not in the country. The ambassadors of China, Russia, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Ukraine and Uruguay were expected to arrive in Jerusalem later on Sunday. Senegal and New Zealand do not have embassies in Israel. Venezuela and Malaysia do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Spoke w/ Israeli PM @netanyahu tonight to wish him Happy Chanukah & assure him of strong support in Congress. No US $ for UN until reversed.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 24, 2016
US Texas Senator Ted Cruz called on Congress to stop all funding to the United Nations until Friday’s vote at the UN Security Council to end Israeli settlement building is reversed.
The Republican leader and former US Presidential candidate took to Twitter, saying he had spoken to Netanyahu to send him Hanukka greetings along with the assurance of “strong support in Congress.”