Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement to his Cabinet this morning is an amazing read, because Israel’s situation is so naked in the wake of the Security Council resolution to condemn the settlements, which passed on Friday with the abstention of the United States. Netanyahu surely speaks the truth when he says that the resolution is “destructive,” and that the Obama administration is not Israel’s friend but Donald Trump is. Certainly Obama is not a friend of this Israeli government.
In a further sign of diplomatic crisis, Haaretz says that Netanyahu has summoned the US Ambassador Dan Shapiro.
Netanyahu begins by accusing Obama of betraying Israel by initiating the resolution– the president who just signed a $38 billion ten-year aid package.
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.
On Friday the White House specifically stated that it had not initiated the resolution (text below).
The Prime Minister expresses the fear that Israel will be “damaged” by the resolution. That is the resolution’s achievement: it has isolated Israel. Fourteen nations voted against Israel’s wishes, one abstained.
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.
It’s like Israel is on a war footing.
Next Netanyahu says that the Obama administration is no friend of Israel, it’s over between him and the president. But Donald Trump is his friend. Here comes Jerusalem, too.
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.
The Prime Minister is right about the politics. We must all consider the great force of this U.N. resolution, and the American abstention. Israel is now a partisan issue in the U.S., and President Obama, along with the Democratic base, can claim that as their achievement.
Notice that in his second tweet on the matter, Donald Trump is not really selling out Obama on this decision. He almost accepts it as a fait accompli:
The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace.Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2016
More cries of betrayal from the pampered nation. Education Minister Naftali Bennett says it was all planned in the Cairo speech 7 years ago. And Obama betrayed Israel twice, on Iran and on the settlements. And this from Uri Blau’s twitter feed: “$ billion in military aid and this is how President Obama is presented today on Israel’s social media.”
Here is Ben Rhodes, White House aide, on Friday specifically denying that the U.S. initiated the resolution:
I’d take umbrage at language [in reported Israeli criticism] that suggests that this was our preferred course of action and that we initiated it. The fact of the matter is, we’d been warning — President Obama and Secretary Kerry publicly and privately for years — that the trend line of settlement construction and settlement activity was just increasing Israel’s international isolation. This is not a new position for us; we’ve been saying that for many, many, many years. Secretary Kerry, as Frank can attest to, has had hundreds of conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu. We’ve made precisely this point.
And 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 yesterday. And we took the position that we did when it was put to a vote.