The UN resolution demanded that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.”
It said settlements have “no legal validity” and are “dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of negotiations.
The resolution contained no sanctions but 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.
Israel’s Prime Minister’s reaction:
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly phoned New Zealand’s foreign minister Murray McCully to tell him that New Zealand’s support for a UN vote on Israeli settlement-building would be a “declaration of war”.
Netanyahu called McCully hours before the UN Security Council vote last Friday (23 Dec), local media reported. “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it,” Netanyahu reportedly told McCully, according to Haaretz, which cited anonymous Western diplomats.
“If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war,” Netanyahu reportedly continued. “It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.”
However Haaretz reported that McCully refused to back down. “This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward,” he reportedly told Netanyahu.
In a landmark move, the UN voted last Friday to demand a halt to Israeli settlement building in Palestinian territory.
The resolution was scheduled at the request of four countries – New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela – who stepped in to push for action a day after Egypt put the draft resolution on hold.
It was passed after the United States took the rare move of abstaining, infuriating Netanyahu who lashed out at President Barack Obama and vowed not to abide by it.
On Tuesday, Israel’s foreign ministry said it was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies of nations that voted for it.
On Christmas Day it summoned ambassadors of countries that voted for the resolution while Netanyahu met US ambassador Daniel Shapiro on Sunday.
Israel occupied the Palestinian territories of east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, and later annexed east Jerusalem.
Settlements are built on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state and seen as illegal under international law.
Some 430,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and 200,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.
Source and Original Article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/netanyahu-tells-new-zealand-that-backing-un-vote-will-be/3399206.html?cid=fbcna