Israel PM meets US envoy after UN settlement vote

The resolution was passed in the 15-member Security Council because the US?broke with its long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power, instead abstaining. Photograph:( Getty )

Jerusalem, Israel Dec 25, 2016, 08.22 PM (IST)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday met the US ambassador two days after Washington withheld its vote during a UN resolution against Israeli settlements, an official source said.

The meeting between Netanyahu and Ambassador Daniel Shapiro came just hours after the foreign ministry summoned representatives of most of the 14 states that supported the UN vote.

Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said 10 representatives answered the summons.

Netanyahu, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, did not meet the other envoys but had talks only with Shapiro, an official source said.

There were no immediate details on the meeting which the US State Department confirmed.

But earlier, Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet that US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were behind the "shameful" resolution.

"We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the drafts and demanded to pass it," Netanyahu said.

On Sunday evening he visited the Wailing Wall in the Old City of annexed east Jerusalem to light a candle to mark the Jewish feast of Hanukkah, and again denounced the resolution.

"I did not plan to be here this evening, but in light of the UN resolution I thought that there was no better place to light the second Hanukkah candle than the Western Wall," Netanyahu said.

"I ask those same countries that wish us a Happy Hanukkah how they could vote for a UN resolution which says that this place, in which we are now celebrating Hanukkah, is occupied territory.

"The Western Wall is not occupied. The Jewish Quarter is not occupied... Therefore, we do not accept, nor can we accept, this resolution. We are certain of our future just as we are certain of our past. And here I would like to light Hanukkah candles on behalf of the Glory of Israel," he said.

The Security Council passed the measure Friday after the United States abstained, enabling the adoption of the first resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

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

It says settlements have "no legal validity" and are "dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution."

(AFP)