Benjamin Netanyahu had a cabinet Sunday where he discussed forming a plan of action against the United Nations after the Security Council voted last week to ban Israel from building settlements in land claimed by the Palestinians.
The resolution was labeled anti-Israeli. The Obama administration abstained from vetoing it — which was a break from all previous U.S. policy regarding Israel. That is how the resolution passed.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned all ambassadors from countries that voted for the resolution, including those from permanent U.N. Security Council countries like France, U.K., China and Russia. They also summoned their U.S. ambassador.
According to the AP, during the meeting Netanyahu said: “We will do all it takes so Israel emerges unscathed from this shameful decision.” Other top Israeli officials piled on, expressed their hurt at the betrayal of the U.S. “We feel betrayed, extremely frustrated. We are angry. This is not how you treat friends,” Yuval Steinitz said.
The international community for the most part, considers the settlements illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. But that disregards the fact that Israel is a sovereign, diplomatic country. MK Naftali Bennett summed it up in a statement at the Western Wall: “No people can be a conqueror in his own land.”
Though the resolution’s immediate impact appears to be largely symbolic, Israel rightfully fears it could open the door to an increase in international steps, including economic measures and many lawsuits at the International Court at The Hague. Some officials paint the following scenario. Imagine a Jewish couple touring in Europe, who happens to live in the territories, can be arrested and tried for the “crime” of owning land in the territories at The Hague. Many IDF soldiers were arrested upon arrival in the UK and other European destinations for “War Crimes”. These arrests caused much diplomatic strain over the years.
Netanyahu canceled his upcoming meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Israel also recalled its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultations and canceled a planned January visit to Israel by Senegal’s foreign minister. Israel cancelled a foreign aid package it prepared for Senegal. The visit of Ukraine’s prime minister was also canceled in light of its support for the U.N. vote. Israel has pledged to cut 30 million shekels in funding to 5 U.N. agencies.