TEL AVIV – Israel’s ambassador to the United States warned Tuesday that the country will provide “evidence” to President-elect Donald Trump that President Barack Obama was behind Friday’s anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations Security Council.
Ambassador Ron Dermer told CNN that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his American counterpart, Dan Shapiro, for an explanation, since the U.S. is “the only country where we have any expectation to actually stand with us at the United Nations.”
The U.S. broke with a decades-long policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions and chose to abstain from the vote, which passed 14-0.
“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. 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,” Dermer said.
Dermer said Israel has proof that Washington orchestrated the resolution, and will “present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels.”
“If they want to share it with the American people, they are welcome to do it,” he said.
Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keyes on Sunday told CNN that Israel had “solid information” of Obama’s alleged involvement in pushing the resolution.
“We have ironclad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world,” Keyes said.
The White House has categorically denied having any involvement in the resolution.
“We did not draft this resolution; we did not introduce this resolution. We made this decision when it came up for a vote,” Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Friday. But because of the U.S.’s opposition to settlement activity, it “could not in good conscience veto” the resolution, he added.
In an interview with MSNBC, Dermer called Rhodes an “expert in fiction” — a zinger that hones in on Rhodes’ literary past. “When the prime minister of Israel makes such an allegation, that is backed up by 100% evidence. You can take that to the bank,” he added.
In addition to summoning Shapiro for a 40-minute meeting to explain the case for the U.S. abstention, Netanyahu also summoned the envoys of 12 other nations that voted for the resolution.
Netanyahu said, “Israel is a country with national pride and we will not turn the other cheek.”
“There is continued importance for this sort of response, even if there are more attempts to damage us in the coming month,” he added.
Netanyahu is now actively recruiting the help of friends in Congress and of the incoming Trump administration with the aim of blocking any future surprises Obama may have in mind for Israel in his final weeks in office. He is hoping the Trump team will make it clear that his administration will “economically hurt” those countries that voted against Israel at the UN and do so in the future.
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 pass them 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 U.S., UN, Russia and the EU — and Kerry on January 15. According to Israel’s Channel 10, the points agreed upon at the summit may be adopted at the UNSC in the last five days of Obama’s presidency.