Israel curtails ties with 10 nations that condemned settlements

Israel curtails ties with 10 nations that condemned settlements

TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Israel on Tuesday announced it was curtailing relations with 10 countries that condemned settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in a United Nations Security Council resolution last week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel was limiting its “work contacts with the 10 relevant embassies here, as well as travels of officials from Israel to those countries … until otherwise decided.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an upcoming visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Besides Ukraine, also approving the resolution were Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain.

The United States allowed the resolution to pass by abstaining on the resolution that called the settlements being built on lands claimed by the Palestinians as a “flagrant violation” of international law. It was the first U.N. resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he no doubt that the Obama administration was behind the resolution, coordinated its wording and made sure it passes.

His government summoned ambassadors who voted for the resolution and the U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to discuss the matter.

President-elect Donald Trump, who urged the United States to veto the resolution, posted on Twitter on Monday that the United Nations has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”

The resolution contains no sanctions, but it could lead to prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

“We hope that following the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning settler construction we might be able to take Israel to the ICC and start criminal proceedings there,” said Rami Saleh, a director at the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, to Al Jazeera.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a meeting of his Fatah Party on Monday that the resolution “paves the way” for the international peace conference scheduled for Jan. 15 in France.

Netanyahu wants direct negotiations with the Palestinians for a peace plan. Abbas won’t participate in direct talks unless settlement construction ends.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem as parts of their future state but they are home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Israel has been building homes in the West Bank.

“In 2016, we saw the construction of almost 1,600 settler homes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank,” Saleh said. “This number is four times the number of illegal homes constructed in 2014.”


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