UN Ambassador Invokes Reagan While Failing to Protect Israel with Veto

WASHINGTON -- The United States turned its back on Israel during a United Nations Security Council vote on settlements in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a "shameful" vote.

"The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against the UN's obsession with Israel, it collaborated with the UN behind Israel's back," the statement continued.

The vote on the resolution drafted by Egypt, which demands Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the 'occupied' Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem," was 14 in favor and the U.S. abstention.

Netanyahu immediately began taking countermeasures, canceling foreign aid to Senegal as well as nixing a planned visit to the Security Council member. He also recalled Israeli ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand for consultations.

During the Friday meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power quoted President Reagan from 1982 saying settlements were "in no way necessary for the security of Israel"; she added that "a routine vote for the U.S. to allow the passage of a resolution with the elements in this one" would be consistent with "familiar, well-articulated components of U.S. policy."

"It is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground – and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administration throughout the history of the State of Israel – that the United States did not veto it," Power said, even though the administration used its veto power in 2011 to kill a similarly worded resolution.

"The United States has consistently said we would block any resolution that we thought would undermine Israel’s security or seek to impose a resolution to the conflict," she said. "We would not have let this resolution pass had it not also addressed counterproductive actions by the Palestinians such as terrorism and incitement to violence, which we’ve repeatedly condemned and repeatedly raised with the Palestinian leadership, and which, of course, must be stopped."

Power added that despite refusing to veto the resolution "Obama and this administration have shown an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security because that is what we believe in."

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters on a conference call today that the administration decided to take the course it did because "one of our grave concerns is that the continued pace of settlement activity, which has accelerated in recent years."

"We therefore thought that we could not in good conscience veto a resolution that expressed concerns about the very trends that are eroding the foundation for a two-state solution," Rhodes said. "...For us, the question here has always been about what is the best way to pursue the security that the Israeli people deserve.  And we cannot simply have a two-state solution be a slogan while the trend lines on the ground are such that a two-state solution is becoming less and less viable."