Netanyahu Warns: World May Act Again on Palestinian Conflict Before Obama Leaves

'The issue is still hot and this is not the end of it,' Netanyahu tells Likud ministers after UN Security Council censures Israel over settlements.

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File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud ministers meeting, December 5, 2016.
File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud ministers meeting, December 5, 2016.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin 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. 

"The issue is still hot and this is not the end of it," Netanyahu told the ministers before the weekly cabinet meeting, referring to Friday's UN Security Council resolution censuring the Israeli settlements. 

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 cabinet meeting, 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." 

Also on Sunday, Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member states to reprimand them over the resolution.

All the envoys will be summoned, except for the U.S. ambassador. According to an Israeli official, each ambassador will be personally reprimanded.

Meanwhile, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett slammed Netanyahu over the UN Security Council resolution, and called on him to roll back his support for the two-state solution. 

"Israel must do some soul-searching over its conduct in the last 25 years, from adopting the Oslo Accords to the Bar-Ilan speech," Bennett said. 

"The season of mimicry is over: You're either [part of the] national camp and against a Palestinian state, or we're getting UN resolutions against us. There is no middle ground," Bennett said. Reiterated his remarks from Saturday evening, Bennett said that he will push for annexation of Ma'aleh Adumim and Area C. Area C is the portion of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control. It includes all of the Israeli settlements.