Israel to reassess UN ties after settlement resolution

IsraelUpdated: Dec 25, 2016, 01:40 PM IST

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photograph:(AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said he will consider Israel's ties with the United Nations following a resolution by the Security Council urging an end to the Israeli settlement building in Palestine.

The United States refrained from voting in a 15-member council vote on Friday breaking a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not veto the council's resolution, a decision Netanyahu called "shameful".

"I instructed the Foreign Ministry to complete within a month a new evaluation of all our contacts with the UN, including the Israeli funding of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in Israel," Netanyahu said.

"I already instructed to stop about 30 million shekels (US7.8 million dollars) in funding to five UN institutions, five bodies, that are especially hostile to Israel ... and there is more to come," he said.

No further details were offered by the Isreali leader.

The US abstained in the decision despite pressure from Israel and President-elect Donald Trump to use its veto. The resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favour.

Israel for decades has pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbours including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, news agency Reuters said.

Hagai Elad, the Executive Director of B'Tselem organisation (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) said the resolution was "not anti-Israeli".

"The Security Council's resounding resolution reaffirms the international consensus on the settlements and their consequences with regards to the human rights of Palestinians. Contrary to (Israeli) government spin, this resolution is not an anti Israeli resolution. This is a resolution that is for the future of Israelis, for the future of Palestinians, rejecting the occupation and the settlements," he said, Reuters reported.

"This is symbolically extremely important and mainly looking forward to additional international steps that will hopefully pull all of us, both Israelis and Palestinians, out of what is perceived as a status quo but in fact is not a status quo, but a continuous advancement -- all of the time, year in and year out, of the building of settlements and the displacement of Palestinians," Elad added.

The Israeli settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is seen by most countries as an impediment to peace.

Israel disagrees, citing a biblical connection to the land.

(With inputs from Reuters)