U.S. Allows U.N. To Pass Measure Condemning Israeli Settlements

The United States, breaking with tradition, abstained from voting on the measure

Dec 23, 2016 at 3:39 PM ET

The United Nations adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in Palestinian territory — after the United States abstained from vetoing it, in a startling break with decades of US diplomatic policy.

Ignoring furious opposition by Donald Trump, members of Congress, and Israel, the Obama administration allowed the measure to pass on Friday with 14 votes and the United States’ abstention. It’s the first time in 36 years that the 15-member Security Council has been able to pass such a resolution. Applause reportedly broke out in the chamber after the vote.

“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” said Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., in a pointed statement to the White House. “I have no doubt that the new U.S. administration and the incoming U.N. Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the U.N.’s relationship with Israel,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

The resolution came just a day after Trump pressured Obama to prevent the draft measure, originally proposed by Egypt, from being voted on on Thursday. But despite lobbying efforts by Israel and Trump’s intervention, a group of countries was able to use their temporary security council chairs to put the resolution, which calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” up for a vote on Friday.

While the resolution will not alter the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestinians, it did demonstrate the international community’s denunciation of Israel’s actions. However, it is more than likely that the resolution will be completely ignored by the incoming Trump administration, as well as Israel. In fact, a senior Israeli official told Reuters on Thursday that if adopted there was “zero chance” the Israeli government would accept it.