Security Council

Israel suggests US should consider cutting funds to UN after Security Council vote

Netanyahu slams Obama administration

 

Israel's ambassador to the United States on Monday slammed the United Nations Security Council's adoption of a resolution opposing Jewish settlements in occupied territory, suggesting the incoming Trump administration and Congress should take a close look at how much money the U.S. hands over to the U.N.

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Speaking on Fox News' "Special Report," Ambassador Ron Dermer also doubled down on Israel's claim the U.S. orchestrated the resolution vote before abstaining last week. Still, he gave few specifics. "We have that evidence... we're going to present it to the new administration, and if they choose to share it with the American people, that'll be their choice."

Dermer called the U.N. a "cesspool" of anti-Israel and anti-American activity, and said Israel appreciated that President-elect Donald Trump called the vote a mistake. After the vote, Trump vowed that "things will be different after Jan. 20th."

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The ambassador responded to calls from some prominent Republicans to stop all U.S. funds bound for the U.N. "I think a new president and Congress that wants to make sure that every penny of your money is going to something that protects and defends and advances U.S. interests -- I think there's a lot of changes that could happen at the United Nations," Dermer said.

The U.S. pays 22 percent of the world's contributions to the U.N. budget, much more than any other nation, a 2014 report showed.

The resolution said the settlements had "no legal validity" and constituted a "flagrant violation" of international law. It also urged all states to distinguish between Israel and "the territories occupied since 1967."

In the short term, the resolution was largely symbolic. It did not include talk of sanctions or any other measures to punish Israel.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said "it is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground -- and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administrations throughout the history of the state of Israel -- that the United States did not veto it." She cited a 1982 statement by then-President Ronald Reagan that the United States "will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements" and that "settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel."

Speaking to Israel's Channel Two on Monday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Secretary of State John Kerry planned to lay out a "comprehensive vision for how we see the conflict being resolved."

David Keyes, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Fox News on Sunday, "We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place."

"The Egyptians, in partnership with the Palestinians, are the ones who began circulating an earlier draft of the resolution," White House spokesman Eric Schultz responded. "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." 

Netanyahu's office told reporters he looked forward to working with Trump "to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham were among the Republicans calling to defund the United Nations. Cruz said the U.S. should withhold money until the Security Council vote on Israel is reversed.

Fox News' Anna Olson, Anne Marie Riha and The Associated Press contributed to this report.