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Angry Israeli PM Summons US Ambassador Over UN Vote

By VOA News December 25, 2016

An angry Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro Sunday to talk about the U.S. abstention in a U.N. Security Council resolution opposing Jewish settlements.

Neither the State Department nor Netanyahu's office commented on Sunday's meeting.The foreign ministry summoned ambassadors from the 14 nations that voted for the resolution Friday, but reports say several of the diplomats did not answer the call.

Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that the resolution was "reckless and destructive." He pointed out that the U.S. and Israel have always agreed that the Security Council is no place to resolve the settlement issue.

He called the U.S. abstention instead of a veto "shameful."

Before lighting a Hanukkah candle in front of the Western Wall in East Jerusalem Sunday, Netanyahu said countries that voted for the resolution and then sent Hanukkah greetings to Israel do not understand the meaning of the Jewish festival.

"The Jewish people observe the holiday of Hanukkah in order to remember the victory of the Hasmoneans in a revolt against the Greeks, culminating with the miracle of the oil and the rededication of the Temple," Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. "How is it possible to offer our best wishes for Hanukkah and at the same time deny our deep connection to the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other places in our land?"

Friday's resolution calls on Israel to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem." It says settlements there have "no legal validity."

The Palestinians have long argued that Jewish settlements in areas they want as part of a future state are illegal and a major impediment to a final peace settlement.

Israel insists Jews have a biblical right to those lands seized in the 1967 war. It says Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist is the major roadblock to peace.

Netanyahu warned his Cabinet Sunday that Friday's U.N. vote may be an attempt by President Barack Obama to reinforce U.S. Mideast policy before he leaves office in less than a month.

This would include another possible resolution and a Mideast peace conference scheduled for January 15 in Paris in which Israel says Secretary of State John Kerry will spell out the U.S. vision for a two-state solution.

Israeli settlement expansion has created a chilly relationship between Netanyahu and Obama.

Netanyahu said Sunday he has talked with "our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike," who "understand how reckless and destructive this U.N. resolution was."He said he is looking forward to working with those friends and "the new administration when it takes office next month."U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn on January 20.

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