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The UN Security Council on the evening of December 23 adopted the resolution calling on Israel to stop the building of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. According to the vote, 14 member countries voted in favor of this decision, United States abstained from voting. We recall that the UN Security Council consists of all 15 members - five permanent (Britain, China, US, France and Russia) and 10 non-permanent (selected by voting).
For the adoption of the resolution voted: China, France, Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal, Angola and Uruguay.
It states that the establishment of settlements by Israel "has no legal force and is a flagrant violation of international law" and "settlement activity" is one of the main obstacles to the settlement of the conflict based on the principle of coexistence two states. The resolution also says that it will not recognize any changes in the boundaries that existed at the time of 4 June 1967, including East Jerusalem. Exceptions may be made only in the case of agreement of the parties in this regard.
The resolution was put to a vote by New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela. The project was initially submitted by Egypt, but later removed from the voting.
On December 22, US President-elect Donald Trump in a telephone conversation called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to postpone the vote on a draft UN Security Council resolution. It was reported that the two leaders agreed on the necessity of giving the new US administration the possibility of a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Palestinian cause to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
On the same day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a statement about the fact that the United States can veto UN resolution on Israel.
"Citizens of Israel deeply appreciate one of the most powerful pillars on which rests the American-Israeli alliance: the United States long-term willingness to take an active role in the UN and to veto anti-Israel Security Council resolutions. I hope the United States will not cease to adhere to this policy. I hope the US will follow the principles voiced by President Obama in his speech to the UN in 2011: that peace will not come by means of UN resolutions but through direct negotiations between the parties. That's what's wrong with the resolution submitted for voting. This is bad for Israel, bad for the US, bad for the world, "- he said.
It is worth recalling that in 2011 the US vetoed the UN resolution of 18 February. It said that "all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a serious obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the principle of coexistence of two states." And this time, the US did not use the veto, but only abstained from voting.
It is, in fact, the first UN Resolution from 1979, which condemns Israel for its settlement policy. Israel called the adoption of this resolution shameful and expressed its protest. Israel, of course, refused to comply with it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "this resolution, without a doubt, was initiated by the Obama administration, which stood behind the curtain, prepared the wording and required to adopt it." "This, of course, is contrary to the traditional US policy, have taken on a commitment not to attempt to impose the terms of the agreement on the permanent status and not to raise relating to it questions in Security Council as well as the unequivocal commitment of President Obama, given in 2011, to avoid such steps, "- he said.
Trump is also dissatisfied with the voting. He believes that the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions on Israel will make it more difficult to achieve peace. In a brief post on Twitter, he wrote that after his inauguration, "issues with regard to the United Nations will change."
US Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Power said in a statement on the adoption of the resolution that the United States may not agree with every word in it, but the resolution affects the underlying facts, and therefore the US did not veto. US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the document does not impose any decision to the parties of the conflict, at the same time it preserves the ability of the parties to negotiate on a cessation of the conflict.
In connection with the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Jerusalem took retaliatory actions:
First of all, Israel recalled its ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal. In addition, Netanyahu also ordered to cancel the visit of the Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mancur Ndiaye, who was supposed to take place in three weeks. A Foreign Ministry was instructed to cease all aid programs to Senegal. With Venezuela and Malaysia Israel has no diplomatic relations.
In addition, prime minister called for the conversation the ambassadors of countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations: China, Britain, France, Russia, the USA, Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, Ukraine and Uruguay. Netanyahu also said that he would not meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May at economic conference in Davos, which will be held in January. Israeli officials instructed to suspend funding for five organizations at the United Nations in the amount of approximately $ 7.8 million that are most hostile to Israel.
Ukrainian-Israeli relations are also affected by this. Netanyahu has canceled a visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who could arrive in Israel on 27-28 December. In addition, Netanyahu instructed all the heads of the ministries over the next three weeks, not to make visits to the countries, voted against Israel, and not to hold any meetings with the ministers of these countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine explained the support of the anti-Israel resolution in this way: "Our country for many years takes the consistent and balanced position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; we are in favor of the peaceful coexistence of two independent states - Israel and Palestine. The settlement of the conflict should be made exclusively by peaceful means. At the same time, we stress the need for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Ukraine, as well as other permanent and non-permanent UN Security Council members, as well as UN Secretary General, has repeatedly condemned Israeli settlement activities, since it is contrary to international law. We also condemn the violence and incitement to it from the Palestinian side”. The Foreign Ministry added that is confident that this decision "will not prevent traditionally friendly Ukrainian-Israeli relations, which are based on mutual respect and common interests."
Israeli media reported that this resolution could be exploited by the Palestinian authorities. According to several sources, the document will facilitate the process of Palestinian appeals to the International Criminal Court. Also, Israeli media commentators write about possible sanctions against these settlements.
Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, are concerned that the vote could affect the relationship between the two countries. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Ukrainian vote for the resolution should be considered at the Cabinet meeting. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has not yet formally expressed an opinion, and president is also silent. In the group of interparliamentary relations Ukraine - Israel it’s members have already said that they are trying "through their own channels to minimize the negative that Ukraine has received in Israel", and in the near future will publish the official position that is "radically different from the position of the Foreign Ministry."
Ukrainian diplomat Markiyan Lubkivsky, commenting on the vote, said that we can talk about imbalance and inconsistency of Ukrainian foreign and domestic policy. Honorary Consul of Israel in Western Ukraine Oleh Vishnyakov said that relations between the two countries will not be crossed out by one vote.
The vote on the document may be the biggest scandal in the time of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Israel. In particular, Israel has recently supported the resolution, in which Russia was recognized as the aggressor state, and the Crimea – as the temporarily occupied territory. And also fuel to the fire poured the recent desecration of a synagogue in Ukrainian town Uman.