Israel's ambassador to the US has vowed to share "evidence" with President-elect Donald Trump that President Barack Obama helped orchestrate the United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel's illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. The remarks follow swift rejection of the resolution by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
"We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, and if they want to share it with the American people they are welcome to do it," Ambassador Ron Dermer told CNN on Monday (26 December).
The Security Council approved on Friday (23 December) a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements as a "flagrant violation of international law" and demanding a stop to "all Israeli settlement activities" as "essential for salvaging the two-state solution". The resolution passed by a vote of 14-0, with the United States abstaining from the vote.
During his interview, Dermer accused the US of being behind the resolution, The Hill reported. "It's an old story that the United Nations gangs up on Israel," the ambassador said. "What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang up."
When questioned by CNN host Don Lemon about what evidence Israel has of that claim, the ambassador responded: "We have clear evidence of it." Dermer said Israel will give the evidence to the incoming administration and let those officials decide whether it should be made public.
The resolution angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Obama of "colluding" with the UN in secret and called the resolution "shameful". Netanyahu summoned the US and UK ambassadors on Sunday (25 December), as well as the ambassadors from all the nations that voted for the resolution.
CNN's Jake Tapper also reported that Israel had reduced diplomatic ties with a number of UN Security Council members, including the UK, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand. The Hill noted that two other countries that make up the council, Venezuela and Malaysia, did not have previous diplomatic ties with Israel.
According to Reuters, Netanyahu is working to rally Israelis around him by portraying the anti-settlement resolution as a challenge to Israel's claim over all of Jerusalem. Both Israelis and Palestinians consider Jerusalem to be their capital.
Washington has maintained that the city's status must be determined in future peace talks, but incoming President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to break five decades of American policy and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Netanyahu planned an unscheduled Hanukkah holiday visit to the Western Wall, located in Jerusalem's Old City, to further push his message. "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 Hanukkah candle than the Western Wall," he said during the visit.
"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?"
An estimated 570,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which were occupied by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967.