Netanyahu Summons U.S. Ambassador Over UN Vote on Settlements

The summoning of the American ambassador is considered a most unusual step, made even more so by the prime minister conducting it himself.

Barak Ravid
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.Credit: GPO
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the American ambassador to Israel to clarify matters over the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office said Sunday.

Netanyahu also ordered the Foreign Ministry on Sunday to reduce almost all diplomatic work relations with 12 of the countries that voted in favor of the UN Security Council resolution on settlements and which have diplomatic ties with Israel, a senior Israeli official said.

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Having earlier summoned the envoys of the UN Security Council member states to reprimand them over the resolution taking Israel to task over the settlements that passed on Friday, Netanyahu asked to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.

The meeting between Netanyahu and Shapiro is expected to take place Sunday night. 

The summoning of the American ambassador is considered a most unusual step. Even more unusual is the fact that unlike the other envoys who were summoned on Sunday to the Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu will conduct the conversation himself at his office.

Read more on the Security Council resolution: It's the settlements, stupid: UN failure is entirely Netanyahu's / AnalysisObama, 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?

Friday's vote was able to pass the 15-member council because the United States decided not to wield its veto power as it had on many times before. The resolution passed with 14 members voting in favor of the resolution, while the U.S. abstained from the vote.

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." 

Netanyahu warned Likud ministers on Sunday that additional international measures on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were possible before U.S. President Barack Obama steps down on January 20. 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."