An Israeli spokesman called Tuesday for President Obama to stop his diplomatic “assault” on the Middle East nation and warned that last week’s anti-Israel U.N. resolution may be only the beginning.
David Keyes, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said his government is concerned that the Obama administration is scrambling to put its stamp on Israeli foreign policy before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The White House sparked a bipartisan outcry Friday by refusing to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
“We actually believe this may be the first of another series of pushes before the Obama administration leaves office,” Mr. Keyes said on “The Kelly File” on Fox News.
Reports out of Israel say Mr. Netanyahu fears that Secretary of State John Kerry may seek a Security Council resolution to enshrine the administration’s vision for an Israeli-Palestinian accord before Mr. Trump takes office.
Mr. Kerry is scheduled to make a policy speech Wednesday on the longstanding conflict, which could lay the groundwork for a Jan. 15 summit in France on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“What I hope happens is the Obama administration ceases this assault on Israel, frankly using diplomatic forums, certainly biased forums like the Security Council, which has spent far too much time lambasting the Middle East’s one liberal democracy and too little time shining a light on the mass murdering dictators like [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad,” Mr. Keyes said.
Top Israeli officials, including Mr. Keyes, have for days accused the Obama administration of orchestrating the resolution behind the scenes, insisting the Israeli government has “ironclad” information to that effect, which the White House has denied.
Mr. Keyes doubled down Tuesday on the allegation even though White House spokesman Eric Schultz issued a statement the previous day saying that, “The US did not draft this resolution nor did the US introduce this resolution.”
“The Egyptians, in partnership with the Palestinians, are the ones who began circulating an earlier draft of the resolution,” Mr. Schultz said. “The Egyptians are the ones who moved it forward on Friday. And we took the position that we did when it was put to a vote.”
Said Mr. Keyes: “I’ve seen information with my own eyes that contradicts that.”
The Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea published Tuesday what it claims are transcripts of meetings between U.S. and Palestinian officials collaborating on the resolution, according to the Times of Israel.
Mr. Keyes said the U.N. resolution’s description of east Jerusalem — which includes the Western Wall, a holy Jewish site — as “occupied territory” would be comparable to describing Washington, D.C., as “occupied territory.”
“The idea that the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, is occupied territory — what if somebody brought a Security Council resolution saying the heart of Washington was occupied territory, or London Bridge was occupied territory?” Mr. Keyes asked. “These are wild fantasies disconnected from reality which actually prejudice the outcome of negotiations.”
The Obama administration has argued that the resolution, which was approved 14-0, is consistent with previous U.S. opposition to settlement construction, although the U.S. government has traditionally acted to block Israel’s critics at the U.N.
“We know that there was deep collusion between the Obama administration and the Palestinians in order to push this United Nations Security Council resolution forward,” Mr. Keyes said. “That is deeply, deeply disappointing because historically America has protected Israel at this very, very biased body.”
Mr. Trump opposed the Obama administration’s decision to withhold the veto, saying on Twitter that “things will be different” with regard to the U.N. after he takes office in January.