Israel to re-assess UN relations after settlement vote

Israel to re-assess UN relations after settlement vote
Israel continued to sulk over a controversial UN vote calling for an end to the illegal settlement building on Palestinian territories, vowing to reassess relations with the UN.
2 min read
25 December, 2016
Netanyahu strongly opposed the controversial vote demanding an end to settlements [Getty]
Israel will re-assess its ties with the United Nations following the adoption of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building.

The resolution demands that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

It states that Israeli settlements have "no legal validity" and are "dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution" that would see an independent Palestinian state co-exist alongside Israel.

"I instructed the Foreign Ministry to complete within a month a re-evaluation of all our contacts with the United Nations, including the Israeli funding of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in Israel," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

"I have already instructed to stop about 30 million shekels ($7.8 million) in funding to five UN institutions, five bodies, that are especially hostile to Israel ... and there is more to come," he said.

In response to the vote, Israel recalled its ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand.

Earlier, US President-elect Donald Trump vowed that the country's policies at the United Nations will change after he takes office, following the vote.

"As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th," he said on Twitter, referring to the date of his inauguration.

The tweet came after the United States refrained from vetoing the adoption of a Security Council measure calling on Israel – its closest Middle East ally – to halt settlement activities in Palestinian territory.

The rare step by the US allowed the measure to pass by a vote of 14 in favour in the 15-member council.

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, had bluntly said on Thursday that Washington should use its veto to block the resolution.

"As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations," he said in a statement.

Trump has chosen as ambassador to Israel the hardliner David Friedman, who has said Washington will not pressure Israel to curtail settlement building in the occupied West Bank.