TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night reportedly attempted to reach out to President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress to block a potential last-minute bid by the Obama administration to have the UN Security Council approve parameters for a Palestinian state.
After the anti-settlement resolution was passed on Friday, Netanyahu’s office said he was encouraged by the incoming U.S. administration and working with Trump to “to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”
According to the Times of Israel citing Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu told colleagues off the record, “They are spitting at us.”
“We will respond forcefully,” he added.
On Sunday night Netanyahu summoned the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, asking him for an explanation as to why the Obama administration broke with decades of U.S. policy and failed to use its veto rights to shelve Resolution 2334.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu summoned 12 envoys of nations that voted in favor of the resolution, which declares settlements illegal under international law and demands that Israel immediately cease construction in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, and other territories captured in the 1967 defensive war.
The Jerusalem municipality, meanwhile, is slated to approve construction this week on new homes in neighborhoods captured in that war, underscoring Israel’s defiance of the Security Council motion.
On Sunday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Netanyahu had warned his cabinet of more “surprises” Obama may have in store for Israel.
In a bid to thwart any diplomatic maneuvering on Obama’s part, Netanyahu is reaching out to Trump as a “deterrence” method, the Channel 2 report said. Netanyahu is hoping that the Trump administration will level punitive economic measures on countries that vote against Israel at the UN.
Trump was reported to have been recruited to intervene after another anti-settlement resolution was presented by Egypt on Thursday. That vote was shelved at the last minute only to be brought back to the UN the next day, this time by Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal and Malaysia.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi put in a call to Trump in which they reportedly discussed the resolution, and shortly thereafter Egypt cancelled the vote.
CNN reported that an unnamed Israeli official said Israel “implored the White House not to go ahead and told them that if they did, we would have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump.”
“We did reach out to the President-elect and are deeply appreciative that he weighed in, which was not a simple thing to do,” the official said.
According to the Channel 2 report, Netanyahu is concerned that Secretary of State John Kerry will delineate parameters for a Palestinian state in a scheduled speech in the coming days. Once those parameters are outlined, the fear is that the Obama administration will attempt to have them passed as another resolution at the UNSC.
France, whose efforts to host a peace summit were snubbed by Netanyahu, will convene with members of the Middle East Quartet — the US, UN, Russia and EU — and Kerry on January 15. According to Israel’s Channel 10, the points agreed upon at the summit may be adopted by the UNSC in the five days left of Obama’s presidency.
On Saturday, Netanyahu accused Obama of initiating the resolution “behind Israel’s back.”
“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage,” he said.
He added that the resolution, which defines Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall – Judaism’s holiest site – as “occupied Palestinian territory,” would make “negotiations harder and drive peace further away.”
Trump apparently agreed, tweeting, “The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!”
Netanyahu was hopeful on Saturday night that Trump would come to Israel’s aid, saying, “We are entering a new era. And as President-elect Trump said, it’s going to happen a lot faster than people think.”
Trump alluded to a change in U.S. policy regarding Israel, tweeting that “things will be different” when he assumes office.