(JNS.org) The United States was reportedly prepared to break from longstanding policy and abstain from a vote in the United Nations Security Council on a resolution calling on Israel to halt all settlement activity, instead of vetoing the measure.
According to NBC News, several diplomatic sources said that the Obama administration was planning to abstain, which would have gone against calls by President-elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to veto the resolution.
Additionally, reports indicate that Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to give a major speech outlining why the U.S. was going to abstain, rather than exercising its veto power in the Security Council. The longstanding U.S. policy has been to veto all one-sided U.N. resolutions.
The resolution—which was originally proposed by Egypt, but was then called off by the Arab country following diplomatic pressure from Israel—would have demanded that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem."
Earlier Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump called on the Obama administration to veto the resolution, saying that the proposal would put Israel “in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
The Israeli government reportedly asked for Trump’s support on the U.N. issue after failing to persuade the Obama administration. CNN quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that the Israelis “implored the White House not to go ahead [with allowing Egypt’s anti-settlement resolution to pass] and told them that if they did, we would have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump.”
Further, an Israeli official told Reuters that the Obama administration’s refusal to use its veto “was a violation of a core commitment to protect Israel at the U.N.”