Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly summoned U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro for “clarifications” on Sunday, the first day of Chanukah and also Christmas Day; a legal holiday in the United States but not here in Israel.
It is an unprecedented move by the prime minister, one that reflects just how angry he is over the betrayal by the United States on Friday for its abstention in a vote that enabled the unanimous passage of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334(2016).
Netanyahu warned fellow Likud ministers at a closed-door session on Sunday morning, “The issue is still hot, and we haven’t heard the end of this yet.” The prime minister said he believes it is possible the U.S. will seek another vote in the UN Security Council to set forth more “detailed parameters” based on Secretary of State John Kerry’s “vision” for a Middle East peace agreement, according to a report Sunday night by Israel’s Channel 2 television news.
Netanyahu said, “Don’t come out now with statements about annexing territory and building in the settlements, because there may be another international move before the change in the U.S. administration on January 20.” A number of lawmakers, including several from the Bayit Yehudi party, have made public statements in response to Friday resolution that now is the time to annex Area C and extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, in response to the vote.
The prime minister maintains that Friday’s abstention at the UNSC vote was personally ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama. The move broke with a long-standing tradition of diplomatic protection for Israel by America in the international forum of the UN Security Council, where Israel has had few friends it can count on.
Now it is clear that for now — at least until January 20 — Israel has none.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon the ambassadors of all 12 nations with whom Israel has had diplomatic relations and who cast their ballots against the Jewish State in that vote. Ten ambassadors – in two cases, deputy ambassadors since their seniors were not in the country – were ordered to show up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, where they were severely reprimanded by the Israeli ministry heads of departments for their regions, spokesperson Emmanuel Nachson said.
The prime minister already recalled Israel’s ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand for “consultations” – both nations were involved in sponsoring the resolution together with Venezuela and Malaysia, with whom Israel has no diplomatic ties.
He also canceled visits in Israel for the non-resident ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand, an upcoming visit by the Senegalese foreign minister, and a state visit that was scheduled for this week by Ukraine’s Jewish prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman as well.
In addition, Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to cut all aid programs to Senegal, and canceled NIS 30 million in funding for five UN institutions which he said Saturday night are “particularly hostile to Israel.”