A peeved Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the U.S. ambassador to Israel to discuss the U.S. abstention in a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlement-building.
Not content with just recalling the U.S. ambassador for "backstabbing" Israel, Netanyahu summoned envoys from 10 of the 14 countries that voted for the resolution — and also have embassies in Israel — to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
But the focus of Bibi’s rage remains the United States and President Barack Obama. The U.S.’ abstention from the crucial vote increased tensions between Netanyahu and President Obama — tensions that originated from the U.S.-led nuclear negotiations with Iran and Obama's longstanding opposition to Israel's settlement policy.
Apparently, Netanyahu is mad at the "administration of U.S. President Barack Obama" for conspiring "with the Palestinians to push for the resolution's adoption."
The White House has denied the allegation.
“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said. “We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away.”
He feels the unbalanced resolution "is very hostile to the State of Israel, and which the [U.N.] Security Council passed in an unworthy manner. 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. This is, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement, like any issue related to them in the Security Council, and, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself, in 2011, to refrain from such steps."
The hurt and frustrated premier claims, "Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council."
The Israeli leader even told ministers at his weekly cabinet meeting that he "no longer had any desire to meet with the British Prime Minister [Theresa May]," so livid he is over U.K.’s support for the U.N. resolution condemning the building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
The meeting was being scheduled between the two on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland during Jan. 17-20.
“It is a disappointment that the Israeli government has announced that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not want to have a conversation with Theresa May,” said Tony Kay, Britain’s deputy ambassador to Israel.
Netanyahu’s office, however, responded to the initial Israeli reports with a carefully worded statement arguing that there had been no firm plans set, therefore no snub made. “No meeting with the U.K. Prime Minister had been set therefore no meeting was canceled,” a spokesperson said.
It's amazing as well as amusing to see the way Israeli President is reacting to the U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlement-building.
What is more, he is not just showing his ire and discontent, he is actually playing the victim card. He especially went to the Western Wall to light a Hanukkah candle and gave a teary speech.
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"I did not plan to be here this evening but in light of the U.N. resolution I thought that there was no better place to light the second Hanukkah candle than the Western Wall," he told the people present.
"I ask those same countries that wish us a Happy Hanukkah how they could vote for a U.N. resolution which says that this place, in which we are now celebrating Hanukkah, is occupied territory?"
"Israel is a country with national pride, and we don't turn the other cheek," Netanyahu said at the ceremony launching an aid plan for northern Israel. "This is a wise, aggressive and responsible reaction. A natural response that makes it clear to the nations of the world that what took place at the U.N. is unacceptable to us. This response has perpetual importance even if there will be an attempt or two to hurt us in the coming month."
Netanyahu vehemently believes and insists there is nothing wrong with his controversial policy of building Jewish towns in occupied areas.
His reaction, however, is a little over the top, to say the least. On the one hand, his behavior shows he has been too used to the idea of the world turning a blind eye to the atrocities Israel has been committing in the occupied territories for decades. On the other, he is showing his blatant disregard to the world's opinion and indeed the people of Palestine.
His behavior as well as the intensity of his reaction is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that the resolution is fundamentally symbolic. It does not include talk of sanctions or any other punitive measures against Israel.
It does, however, send a stern message that the world, in general, rejects the idea of Israel forcefully expanding on the disputed area the Palestinians demand as part of their future state.
"The importance of the resolution is to remind Israel, at least at the rhetorical level, that the international community is not completely happy, to say the least, with the ongoing status quo," said Arie Kacowicz, a professor of international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"This resolution is about settlement activities, the two-state solution and ending the occupation," Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said. "Netanyahu, by his statements and his actions, is isolating Israel for the sake of settlements."
Banner Image credit: Reuters