14 nations voted against Israeli settlements on West Bank, but Netanyahu blames U.S.
The Israeli prime minister blames the United States in spite of world opinion going against him.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that there is nothing wrong with his controversial policy of building Jewish towns in occupied areas that the Palestinians, with overwhelming world support, claim for their state. But Friday’s U.N. rebuke was a stark reminder that the rest of the world considers it a crime. The embattled leader is now placing his hopes in the incoming administration of Donald Trump, which is shaping up as the first major player to embrace Israel’s nationalist right and its West Bank settlements.
In a series of statements, Netanyahu has criticized the Obama Administration for letting Resolution 2334 pass Friday by abstaining, using unprecedented language that has turned a policy disagreement into a personal vendetta.
“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,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday.
In turning his anger toward Israel’s closest and most important ally, Netanyahu has underplayed the embarrassment that all 14 other nations on the Security Council voted in favor of the measure. Those votes came from countries that Netanyahu loves to boast of cultivating relations with, including Russia and China and nations across the developing world.
“This is the same prime minister who told us dozens of states are on board with us,” former Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Channel 2 TV on Saturday. “I looked for Russia, China, England, France. Where are all the friends that were meant to stand with us?”
The resolution marked a sharp international rebuke of Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians as parts of a future independent state. Some 600,000 Israelis now live in the two areas, complicating any partition of the land between Israel and a future Palestine.
Netanyahu routinely dismisses international criticism of the settlements, saying that the dispute with the Palestinians goes back to long before the 1967 war.