Israel’s foreign ministry has said on Tuesday that the country is going to reduce ties with nations that voted for last week’s UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to settlement building in Palestinian territory. The Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that Israel will temporarily reduce visits and work with embassies of such nations. he said, “Until further notice, we’ll limit our contacts with the embassies here in Israel and refrain from visits of Israeli officials to those states, and of visits of officials from those states here.”
After the US, Israel has already called back its ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultations, and cancelled aid programs with the African state. They informed Angola that it would be freezing its aid program there as well. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that she was concerned that Israel would miss opportunities to explain its position by cancelling visits, but that she supported making clear “you can’t take Israel for granted”. The countries are – USA, UK, Angola, China, Egypt, France, japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his officials to visit the countries that voted for the resolution as little as possible for now. Also he has limited visit of the Government officials and Ambassadors of the respected countries. At least two trips of Israel have been cancelled or postponed, including this week’s visit to Israel by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and an upcoming visit by the Senegalese foreign minister.
There have also been reports that Netanyahu was calling off a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May at next month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, but there has been no official confirmation. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have responded with especially harsh language to Friday’s Security Council resolution which passed after the United States abstained from voting.
Netanyahu has alleged that US President Barack Obama “colluded” to see the “shameful” resolution through in the waning days of his administration.
By deciding not to veto the move, the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.
Israel summoned ambassadors of countries that voted for the resolution on Sunday while Netanyahu also met with US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. On Monday, Netanyahu defended his response to the UN vote in the face of criticism that he was overreacting, saying “we do not turn the other cheek”.
Meanwhile, Israel’s increasing anger at the vote came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hoped the forthcoming Middle East conference in France would set a mechanism to end Israeli settlements in territory Palestinians claim for a state. France hosts a conference on January 15 where countries may endorse a framework for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, Netanyahu opposes such activity, saying only direct negotiations will produce a solution. He has called on Abbas to meet for talks, but Abbas has refused unless settlement construction ends.
According to Haaretz newspaper, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee is expected to approve permits to build 618 new homes in Jewish neighbourhoods across the Green Line on Wednesday. While the UN 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.