The Slatest

Israel Threatens to Give Trump Evidence Obama Was Behind U.N. Resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights a candle during the start of the Jewish light festival of Hanukkah in Rhavat Ronit, south of Netanya, on Dec. 24.

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israel continued to go on the offensive on Monday, making it clear it won’t simply turn the page on the U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week that called settlements a “flagrant violation” of international law. Israel’s ambassador to the United States upped the diplomatic ante, vowing that his country will be sharing information with President-elect Donald Trump’s administration that shows how Obama’s White House was behind the anti-settlement resolution that passed 14–0.

“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up on Israel,” Israel’s Ambassador Dermer said on CNN. “What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang up.”

When asked to provide evidence of that supposed collusion, which the Obama administration has been denying for days, Dermer said it would be presented to the incoming administration. “We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, and if they want to share it with the American people they are welcome to do it,” Dermer said.

The Israeli ambassador issued his threat shortly after a Netanyahu spokesman said the government has “rather iron-clad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally” that the resolution was the result of “a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place.” The United States did not vote in favor of the resolution, but the Israeli government has characterized the decision to abstain—rather than veto—the measure as a betrayal.

The threat to a sitting U.S. president and the way it is playing its cards in favor of an incoming administration of the country that has long been Israel’s closest ally “appears almost unprecedented,” notes the Guardian. It all seems to be part of a high-stakes diplomatic battle by Netanyahu’s administration to get his country to turn against Obama as he gets ready to leave office. Netanyahu “has tried to rally Israelis around him by portraying the anti-settlement resolution as a challenge to Israel’s claimed sovereignty over all of Jerusalem,” reports Reuters.

One retiring lawmaker, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, said on MSNBC that Israel’s moves were a way to increase the pressure on Trump. “They never could get 100 percent out of Barack Obama, so they decided to attack him and use him as the reason for why Trump should come in and give them everything they want,” McDermott said.

Trump joined in on the diplomatic wrangling, continuing his criticism of the United Nations on Monday, saying that it has “such great potential,” but “it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” Earlier, Trump had said that “things will be different” when he is sworn in next month.

Meanwhile, part of the strategy appears to be one of isolationism. Netanyahu has called on the Foreign Ministry to “temporarily limit all working ties” with the 12 countries that voted for the resolution and who have diplomatic relations with Israel, reports CNN. The news largely echoes reports published in Israeli media.

Most business with the countries in question—Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal, and New Zealand—will be suspended, according to unnamed officials. Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, won’t meet with counterparts from the countries and ambassadors will not be received at the Foreign Ministry. Official travel to those countries will also be severely curtailed. The move comes after Israel summoned ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry for a scolding over the resolution, including the U.S. ambassador.