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Report: Israel Asked Trump to Pressure White House on UN Security Council Vote

Image: Report: Israel Asked Trump to Pressure White House on UN Security Council Vote

President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By    |   Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 08:17 PM

Israel asked President-elect Donald Trump to help pressure the Obama administration to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a top Israeli official said Thursday.

"We did reach out to the president-elect and are deeply appreciative that he weighed in, which was not a simple thing to do," the official told CNN.

Israel's outreach led Trump to urge the veto in a Facebook posting that some critics said sought to undermine President Barack Obama and marked unprecedented interloping by a successor.

"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," Trump said on Facebook. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."

The U.S. had been considering an abstention, a highly unusual move that could potentially rock already frigid relations between the U.S. and Israel, American officials said, though they would not disclose whether Obama had made a final decision.

Under heavy pressure Thursday from Israel, Egypt indefinitely postponed the U.N. vote on the proposed Security Council resolution just hours before it was to take place.

The resolution would have condemned Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


The vote represented one of the last opportunities for President Obama to take a stand against Israeli settlement building after years of failed peace efforts. The delay also dealt a setback to repeated Palestinian efforts to censure Israel over its settlements.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had publicly urged the U.S. to veto the resolution, calling it bad for peace.

"Peace will come not through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties," he said Thursday.

The Israeli official told CNN they approached Trump because had failed to persuade the Obama administration to veto the resolution.

Israel "implored the White House not to go ahead and told them that if they did, we would have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump," the official said.

Trump called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to discuss the Security Council's vote after Israel's request, a diplomatic source said.

One analyst slammed Trump's involvement in the matter to CNN.

"It's unprecedented that a President-elect would pronounce on a matter of U.S. policy before he became president," said Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center, "let alone say publicly that the administration should not vote for the resolution."

But Trump spokesman Jason Miller told CNN the transition team informed the White House of Trump's statement before it was released.

State Department spokesman John Kirby later denied concerns Trump sought to shape Obama's options.

"Nobody here felt boxed in by a tweet from the president-elect," he told CNN's Brianna Keilar. "He is perfectly entitled to express his views on these kinds of things.

"But there was no boxing in of our purview or how we might deal with this going forward."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Israel asked President-elect Donald Trump to help pressure the Obama administration to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a top Israeli official said Thursday.
UN, security council, vote, White House
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2016-17-22
Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 08:17 PM
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