On Christmas Day: Netanyahu Summons Security Council Members' Envoys for Reprimand Over Settlement Vote

All envoys but the U.S.' will be reprimanded. What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur?' Western diplomat says.

Santa Claus rides a camel in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Santa Claus rides a camel in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Ammar Awad, Reuters

>> UPDATE: U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has also been summoned for a meeting with Netanyahu (details here)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member states on Sunday to reprimand them over the resolution taking Israel to task that passed on Friday.

All the envoys were summoned, except for the U.S. ambassador. An Israeli official said each ambassador will be personally reprimanded.

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A senior diplomat in Jerusalem and a Western diplomat told Haaretz the summons were extremely unusual, considering the timing: Christmas Day. "What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur," the Western diplomat said.

The ambassadors summoned were from those countries that operate embassies in Israel: Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, France, Britain, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain.

Friday's vote was able to pass the 15-member council because the United States broke with a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power as it had on many times before.

The resolution's two main clauses state that the settlements have "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law," and call on the nations of the world "to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967." 

At the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he shares the ministers' anger and frustration over the vote, which he called "hostile and unbalanced." 

Netanyahu said that according to information that reached Israel, there was no doubt that the Obama administration was behind the resolution, coordinated its wording and made sure it passes. Netanyahu said this completely contradicted traditional U.S. policy against forcing conditions on Israel via the Security Council and explicit commitment from Obama in 2011 to that effect.
 
Netanyahu then addressed the ministers in English, telling them: "As I told John Kerry on Thursday - friends do not take friends to the Security Council." 

Netanyahu said that U.S. administrations and Israeli governments have always disagreed over the settlements, but agreed that the Security Council wasn't the place to resolve this issue.

"We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away," Netanyahu added.

"I am encouraged by statements of our friends - Republican and Democrat alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was. I look forward to working with those friends and with the new U.S. administration when it takes office next month," Netanyahu said. 

President-elect Donald Trump has criticized the UN vote, tweeting after the resolution was adopted that "things would be different" after he takes office on January 20.

Read more on the Security Council resolution: Obama, where have you been for 8 wasted years? / Analysis | Why the Palestinians are jubilant and Israel is spooked / Analysis | Security Council punch knocks Netanyahu down from hubris to humiliation / Analysis | What will the immediate ramifications of the UN resolution be?

Netanyahu addressed the UN resolution on Saturday evening, saying that the Obama administration had carried out an "underhanded and an anti-Israel maneuver" at the Security Council. The prime minister called the resolution "crazy" and vowed to cut funding to UN institutions, while reviewing Israel's relations with the international organization.

On Friday, the prime minister's bureau announced that Israel's ambassadors to New Zealand and Senagal, two of the countries that pushed for the vote on the UN resolution, had been recalled and that sanctions would be put in place against both countries.

"The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes," his bureau said.

Netanyahu also canceled a visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who was scheduled to arrive in Israel in the coming week, in light of Ukraine's vote in favor of the resolution.