Israel will provide detailed, sensitive information to Donald Trump’s incoming administration about the US role as a covert partner in the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, a senior Israeli official told CNN Tuesday.
The official said it is becoming increasingly clear, based on Arab sources, that the administration was a covert partner in every detail of its formulation, together with the Palestinians.
Israeli officials have repeatedly and publicly criticize the Obama administration, saying it, led by Secretary of State John Kerry and his staff, pushed for the approval of the resolution. The administration has denied such involvement, though Kerry is expected to speak on Middle East peace on Wednesday morning.
But the Israeli official charged that the administration tried to conceal its involvement by having Palestinian official Saeb Erekat demand that Egypt submit the resolution as the representative of the Arab League. This was intended to provide plausible deniability for the US and now can be seen in an administration spokesmen’s evasive denials, the official said.
Israel believes even after the Egyptians decided to withdraw the resolution, the administration continued to pressure other Security Council members to approve the resolution, which was introduced by four other countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration after its refusal to veto the resolution.
Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, “We have iron-clad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world.”
Despite the resolution, Israel is advancing plans for hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem, a spokeswoman for the Jerusalem municipality said Tuesday.
“The city will continue, with all of the tools at its disposal, to develop our capital according to the city’s master plan and in accordance with planning and construction laws, for the benefit of all residents — Jews and Arabs alike,” Rachel Greenspan said. The plans include 216 units in Ramot and 174 units in Ramat Shlomo, two neighborhoods in E. Jerusalem.
The plans, scheduled for a Jerusalem Zoning Committee meeting on Wednesday, were on the agenda before the UN Security Council vote, according to Ir Amim, a left-leaning NGO that tracks construction in East Jerusalem.
The US abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it — as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel, leading to US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro being summoned.
Ambassadors from 10 countries that supported the resolution were summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry, but not to a meeting with Netanyahu. He ordered Monday his nation’s Foreign Ministry to temporarily limit all working ties with the embassies of the 12 UN Security Council members who voted in favor of Friday’s resolution.
Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said Monday that Netanyahu called in Shapiro for a face-to-face meeting because the US is “the only country where we have any expectation to actually stand with us at the United Nations.”
Netanyahu said Sunday of the UN resolution that “we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”