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Israel terms US's abstaining at UNSC 'despicable', 'shameful'

25th December 2016, 12:00 Hrs

PTI

JERUSALEM

Israel has termed as "despicable" and "shameful" the US' move to abstain from vetoing a UN Security Council resolution condemning its settlements in Palestine, accusing the Obama administration of colluding with Jerusalem's detractors in Israel's "harassment".

"Israel categorically rejects the despicable anti-Israeli resolution at the UN, and will not adhere to it," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) here said in a terse statement after the UNSC voted in favour of the motion condemning Israel's settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem 14-0, with close ally America abstaining from the vote.

"While the Security Council does nothing to prevent the massacre of half a million people in Syria, it is shamefully singling out Israel -- the only democracy in the middle east. The Obama administration not only failed to defend Israel from this harassment at the UN, it cooperated with it behind the scenes," the PMO statement said.

In what is being seen as a final repudiation of the Obama administration, with which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often been at loggerheads, the PMO said that Israel was "looking forward to working with President-elect [Donald] Trump and with our friends in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to undo the damage of this absurd resolution."

Trump promptly reacted in a tweet saying, "As to the UN, things will be different after January 20th", a clear signal that the strategic ties between Israel and the US would continue as usual once he takes charge.

Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz talking to Channel 2 here said that "this is not the way friends behave" after the US abstained in the vote, surprising many in Israel given that America has always vetoed resolutions condemning Israel at the UNSC.

"The United States abandoned Israel, its only ally in the Middle East. The heart aches that after eight years of friendship and cooperation with Obama, this is his final chord" before he leaves office, Steinitz said.

Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Dannon also criticized the US abstention.

"It was expected that Israel's greatest friend would act according to its decades-long policy and veto the one-sided resolution," Dannon said adding that he has "no doubt" that the new US administration will usher in a new era.

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