Is­rael says U.S. be­hind re­buke

Ne­tanyahu calls U.N. res­o­lu­tion “shame­ful”

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Josef Federman

jerusalem» Dou­bling down on its pub­lic break with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, a fu­ri­ous Is­raeli govern­ment on Tues­day said it had re­ceived “iron­clad” in­for­ma­tion from Arab sources that Wash­ing­ton ac­tively helped craft last week’s U.N. res­o­lu­tion declar­ing Is­raeli set­tle­ments in oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries il­le­gal.

The al­le­ga­tions fur­ther poi­soned a toxic at­mos­phere be­tween Is­rael and the out­go­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion in the wake of Fri­day’s vote, rais­ing ques­tions about whether the White House might take fur­ther ac­tion against set­tle­ments in Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s fi­nal weeks in of­fice.

With the U.S. ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in an in­ter­na­tional peace con­fer­ence in France next month and Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry plan­ning a fi­nal pol­icy speech, the Pales­tini­ans hope to cap­i­tal­ize on the mo­men­tum. Is­rael’s na­tion­al­ist govern­ment is bank­ing on the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to undo the dam­age with re­dou­bled sup­port.

Al­though the U.S. has long op­posed the set­tle­ments, it has gen­er­ally used its Se­cu­rity Coun­cil veto to pro­tect its ally from cen­sure. On Fri­day, it ab­stained from a res­o­lu­tion call­ing set­tle­ments a “fla­grant vi­o­la­tion” of in­ter­na­tional law, al­low­ing it to pass by a 14-0 mar­gin.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, who has had a cool re­la­tion­ship with Obama, called the res­o­lu­tion “shame­ful” and ac­cused the U.S. of play­ing an ac­tive role in its pas­sage.

On Tues­day, his spokesman went even fur­ther.

“We have iron­clad in­for­ma­tion that em­anates from sources in the Arab world and that shows the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion helped craft this res­o­lu­tion and pushed hard for its even­tual pas­sage,” David Keyes said. “We’re not just go­ing to be a punch­ing bag and go qui­etly into the night.”

He did not iden­tify the Arab sources or say how Is­rael ob­tained the in­for­ma­tion. Is­rael has close se­cu­rity ties with Egypt, the orig­i­nal spon­sor of last week’s res­o­lu­tion who, as the lone Arab mem­ber of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, was pre­sent­ing it at the Pales­tini­ans’ re­quest. Un­der heavy Is­raeli pres­sure, Egypt de­layed the res­o­lu­tion in­def­i­nitely — but other mem­bers pre­sented it for a vote a day later. Egypt ended up vot­ing in fa­vor of the mea­sure.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ve­he­mently de­nied Is­rael’s al­le­ga­tions.

“We did not draft, ad­vance, pro­mote or even tell any other coun­try how we would vote on this res­o­lu­tion in ad­vance of the Egyp­tians putting it in blue last week,” said White House deputy na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Ben Rhodes.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ac­knowl­edged that it con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­ity of ab­stain­ing on a set­tle­ments res­o­lu­tion over the past year as var­i­ous drafts were cir­cu­lated by dif­fer­ent coun­tries. In an­nounc­ing the ab­sten­tion, U.N. Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power re­ferred to con­tin­ued Is­raeli set­tle­ment con­struc­tion and a re­cent ef­fort to retroac­tively le­gal­ize dozens of il­le­gally built set­tle­ment out­posts.

A White House of­fi­cial said the U.S. was ap­proached re­peat­edly by coun­tries urg­ing it to let the res­o­lu­tion pass, yet replied only by say­ing the U.S. would feel forced to veto any res­o­lu­tion that didn’t also crit­i­cize the Pales­tini­ans for in­cit­ing vi­o­lence. The of­fi­cial wasn’t au­tho­rized to com­ment by name and re­quested anonymity.

The Pales­tini­ans seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, ter­ri­to­ries cap­tured by Is­rael in 1967, as part of an in­de­pen­dent state.

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