Israel summons 14 ambassadors after UN settlement vote

Civilian coordination with Palestinians also cut in retaliation to UN resolution, Defence Minister Lieberman announces.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu attended the weekly cabinet meeting a day after the UN vote [Dan Balilty/Reuters]

Israel has summoned the ambassadors of United Nations Security Council member states that voted in favour of a resolution condemning settlement activity, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

By way of rebuke of the vote, Israel’s defence minister Avigdor Lieberman also announced on Sunday that Israel was cutting civilian coordination with Palestinians. 

Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that the 14 envoys of UN Security Council members will visit the ministry in Jerusalem throughout the day.  The United States’ envoy was not summoned.

The council passed the measure on Friday after the US abstained, enabling the adoption of the first resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

The resolution demands “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem”.

It says settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had rejected the resolution as a ” shameful blow against Israel “, repeated on Sunday the Israeli claim that US president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry were behind the resolution.

“We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the drafts and demanded to pass it,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

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“This is of course in total contradiction to the traditional American policy of not trying to impose conditions of a final resolution. And, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself in 2011 to avoid such measures.”

While the resolution contains no sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and goods produced in the settlements.

Earlier on Sunday, army radio reported that Lieberman ordered Israeli security establishment to cease to all cooperation on civilian matters with the Palestinians, while retaining security coordination.

Israeli officials refused to comment on the report.

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The measures taken on Sunday join Netanyahu’s order to review engagements at the United Nations, including funding for UN agencies and the presence of its representatives in Israel.

Right-wing public security minister, Gilad Erdan, said on Saturday night that Israel should “announce a full annexation of settlement blocs” in response to the resolution.

Education minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home told army radio that his party would “soon propose a bill to annex Maale Adumim”, a settlement city east of Jerusalem. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies