Netanyahu Invites Ambassadors for ‘Clarifications’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu (2nd R) leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the representatives of the countries on the U.N. Security Council that voted for Resolution 2334 to appear Sunday for “clarification talks.” Ambassadors to Israel from China, Japan, Ukraine, France, the U.K., Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain were expected to appear at Foreign Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv to hear Israeli officials express their dismay and dissatisfaction at their countries’ votes last Friday. Not invited to appear Sunday was U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, whose country abstained in the vote.

Aides to several of the ambassadors expressed dismay at being invited Sunday, which is usually a day off for ambassadors — and coincides this year with a major Christian celebration. Netanyahu’s office did not comment on the timing of the invitations.

Israel had already recalled its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, the two countries that sponsored the resolution. In addition, Israel canceled a visit to Israel scheduled in the coming days by the Ukrainian prime minister, and also canceled several aid programs for Senegal.

Speaking at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued his aggressive stance from the night before in response to the passage of the resolution. Netanyahu said that he “participated with all Israelis who had feelings of anger and disappointment” with the “unbalanced and unfair decision.” He said that he had spoken with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to express those feelings, telling Kerry that “friends don’t take friends to the U.N. Security Council” for a condemnation vote. Netanyahu reiterated his contention that “according to the information we have, there is no doubt that the Obama administration initiated this decision, authorized its text, and ensured that it would be passed by the Security Council.” Netanyahu also called on ministers to “act responsibly,” adding that Israel would soon implement a new policy to dealing with the U.N.

On Motzoei Shabbos, Netanyahu said that Israel “would survive” the resolution. “Israel was reconsidering all assistance to institutions and countries that operate against Israel,” said Netanyahu, and he had already ordered halting Israeli funding of several U.N. organizations that “were particularly opposed to us.” In the end, Netanyahu said, “from the bitter will come sweet,” with the decision backfiring on the U.N. and the anti-Israel forces in the world.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman meanwhile ordered that Israel’s coordination officers in Yehudah and Shomron halt their cooperation with their Palestinian Authority counterparts. The move means that further authorization of increases in the number of PA Arabs authorized to work in Israel is to be frozen. Work was begun on authorization of some 6,000 additional PA workers last week. With that, the IDF will continue to cooperate with PA police to prevent terror attacks, Liberman’s office said.

The Security Council resolution that was adopted late Friday — by a vote of 14-0, with one abstention — condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,” and expresses grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines. It also lays the basis for sanctions against Israel, “calling upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Included in those “territories” are all Yerushalayim neighborhoods built since 1967, including Ramot, Gilo and Ramat Shlomo, as well as the “settlement blocs.” The construction in these places is “illegal” and “violates international law.”