The Israeli government says that the Obama administration actively pushed for the adoption of the UN resolution condemning Israel on December 23, a claim that the Obama White House unconvincingly denies. On Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” Sunday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the United States of pulling the strings in last week’s developments at the UN Security Council.
“We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place,” Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes said. According to Fox News, “Netanyahu made similar claims during a meeting with cabinet ministers.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz, though, issued a statement Sunday defending President Obama’s support for Israel and stressing that the U.S. did not draft the resolution.
“The US did not draft this resolution nor did the US introduce this resolution,” he said. “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 on Friday. And we took the position that we did when it was put to a vote.”
The White House already has acknowledged Obama made the decision for U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain. Unclear was how involved the Obama administration was in crafting and pushing the resolution itself – which initially was put forward by Egypt, and then pursued as well by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.
Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that while the U.S. and Israel for decades had disagreed on settlements, they had an understanding that such action before the U.N. Security Council would make peace negotiations harder.
“As I told [Secretary of State] John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” Netanyahu said.
“Profound betrayal of a true democratic friend of the United States is the only possible description” of what occurred on Friday, said human rights advocate and PJ Media contributor Anne Bayefsky at Powerline on Sunday:
At its core, this UN move is a head-on assault on American democracy. President Obama knew full well he did not have Congressional support for the Iran deal, so he went straight to the Security Council first. Likewise, he knew that there would have been overwhelming Congressional opposition to this resolution, so he carefully planned his stealth attack.
He waited until Congress was not in session. Members of his administration made periodic suggestions that nothing had been decided. There were occasional head fakes that he was “leaning” against it. He produced smiling photo-ops from a Hawaiian golf course with no obvious major foreign policy moves minutes away. Holiday time-outs were in full-swing across the country. And then he pounced, giving Israel virtually no notice of his intent not to veto.
Obama’s excuse for the perfidy was delivered by Ambassador Power, in what Bayefsky called “one of the most disingenuous statements in the history of American diplomacy.” Indeed, Power’s suggestion that Ronald Reagan would have approved of their backstabbing betrayal of Israel is a new low for this godforsaken administration.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton also accused Obama of being personally responsible for the vicious, anti-Israel resolution.
“His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it,” the first-term Republican senator said on Friday. “This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama’s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history.”
Other Republicans responded forcefully, condemning the action and threatening to cut off funding for the UN – a long overdue policy change.
“This provocative action by the United Nations is an outrage and must be dealt with sternly and forcefully,” said the South Carolina Republican, who chairs a subcommittee that oversees funding to the organization. “The United States is currently responsible for approximately 22 percent of the United Nations total budget.
“The Obama-Kerry foreign policy has gone from naïve and foolish to flat-out reckless,” he added. “With friends like these, Israel doesn’t need any enemies.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he supported Graham’s call to strip the U.N. of federal funding “and reconsider aid to countries if they fail to join our opposition.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the abstention was “a failure of leadership and judgment” by President Barack Obama.
“It is highly regrettable that one of President Obama’s last actions in office was again to abandon our ally Israel,” the Kentucky Republican said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the vote “absolutely shameful.”
“Today’s vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel,” the Wisconsin congressman said. “Our unified Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel.”
Trump on Friday tweeted, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that he looks forward to working with the new Donald Trump administration when it takes office in January. He also said he was encouraged by Israel’s “friends in the United States” who criticized the resolution, saying “they understand how reckless and destructive” it is.