UN Security Council Votes to End Israeli Settlements as US Abstains

The Israeli ambassador and President-elect Trump had called for a veto.

ByABC News
December 23, 2016, 3:25 PM

— -- The United Nations Security Council has passed a previously postponed vote to end Israeli settlements after the U.S. abstained from voting.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power gave a statement after the vote saying that the U.S. chose not to vote on the resolution "because the resolution is too narrowly focused on settlements." She began her statement in the Security Council with the words of Ronald Reagan in 1985 that settlements are “in no way necessary for the security of Israel” and “only diminishes the confidence of Arabs.”

The Obama administration vetoed a very similar resolution in 2011, but Power today said the circumstances have changed dramatically because the growth of settlements has accelerated and efforts to pursue peace have failed.

The controversial vote occurred a day after President-elect Donald Trump called for the resolution in question to be vetoed and after he had a call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Egypt had previously sponsored the resolution but are no longer one of the sponsors.

The meeting was listed on the revised Security Council schedule as being about "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question."

Israel is against the resolution. Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the U.N., made it clear before the vote took place that he did not want it to pass.

“This resolution is a Palestinian initiative which is intended to harm Israel,” Danon, who has in the past supported groups raising money for settlements, said in a statement after the announcement was made that the vote was back on.

“We call on the United States to stand by us and we expect our greatest ally to continue with its long-standing policy and to veto this resolution," Danon said in the statement.

For his part, Trump has made it clear that he thinks it should be vetoed.

"As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis," Trump said in a statement on Thursday.

His call to El Sisi also touched on the subject.

"They agreed on the need to allow the new U.S. administration to deal in a comprehensive manner with all aspects of the Palestinian issue so as to achieve a comprehensive and final settlement for this issue," El Sisi's office said in a statement about the call.

Trump sent a new tweet shortly after the resolution passed, saying "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th."

ABC News' Ben Gittleson, Justin Fishel, Kirit Radia and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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