NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The United States’ policy on Israel was front and center at the United Nations on Friday, with a showdown between the president and president-elect.

There was pressure from the president-elect and lobbying from Israel, but in the end, the United States broke a longstanding tradition and refused to veto a resolution demanding Israel to stop settlement activity on Palestinian land seized in the 1967 war, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

When the vote came in, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power raised her hand to abstain, marking an extraordinary break by the Obama administration.

The president long has criticized Israeli settling building as an obstacle to peace, but has never failed to veto a U.N. resolution condemning Israel until now.

“The United States has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for nearly five decades,” Power said.

She justified the vote with a 1982 quote from President Ronald Reagan.

“Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel,” Power said. 

Before the vote, president-elect Trump made unprecedented efforts to stop it. At the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump asked the resolution sponsor, Egypt, to delay a vote, and Egypt did. But then another security council representative forced the resolution to the floor and it passed with only the U.S. abstaining.

Trump tweeted his reaction:

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) also tweeted, “Obama-Kerry foreign policy has gone from naive and foolish to flat out reckless. With friends like these, Israel doesn’t need any enemies.”

Many New York Democrats broke with the president on the issue.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey called the vote “a stain on the United States’ long and consistent record of defending Israel against one-sided U.N. Security Council resolutions. I am profoundly disappointed.”

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. called the resolution “an evil decree”and suggested Israel will ignore it.

The resolution also condemned Palestinian incitement to terrorism and urged both sides to resume peace negotiations.

Comments (4)
  1. pfon71361 says:

    Israel certainly has important security and internal political concerns to contend with and resolve. But at some point it must face the reality that the Palestinian people also must eventually attain international recognition as an independent, sovereign state. The sooner that eventuality becomes a fact the better.

  2. President Barack Obama just hit two angry birds in the head (Bibi Netananyu and Donald the know-nothing-Trump). Obama and Bibi do not personally get along, however, when Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel, Netananyu purposely embarrassed the vice president by okaying and constructing new settlement housing in Samaria. As for Donald Trump, he just got his “bully ego thumped!” Trump is learning what is like to lose when the United State’s rule of law is clear: One president at a time.

  3. Rafin Fastur says:

    For this resolution to have a serious bite, the UN should immediately start the administrative process to impose sanctions on Israel. The imposition of economic, banking, commerce, military and other sanctions, like those given to Iran and North Korea, are now justifiable. This is the only way Israel will understand that the world is no longer willing to tolerate their continuous dishonest snares.

  4. Continuing with the settlement expansions is not a wise move for Israel to choose, because Israel doesn’t actually need any more land- it can get by perfectly fine with the land that it already has. So why engage in something which isn’t even necessary, when this is so detrimental with regards to relations with the Palestinians?

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