US abstention enables UN Security Council to pass anti-Israel resolution

The UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements on the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The US abstained from voting, in the face of a demand by President-elect Donald Trump as well as Israel and several U.S. senators that the Obama administration use its veto to block the measure.

Egypt, which originally tabled the resolution, pulled it ahead of the vote Thursday. However, Friday, the governments of New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia tabled it instead. This was the first time the US had allowed an anti-Israel motion to be passed by abstaining from voting. It was seen as a parting shot against Israel by President Barack Obama to cap his acrimonious relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The resolution stated that Israel must "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem." It reaffirmed that “all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-state solution.”

A senior official in Jerusalem accused President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of secretly conniving with the Palestinians to cook up an extreme anti-Israel resolution behind Israel’s back “that would provide a tailwind for terror and boycotts.”

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