President-elect Donald Trump blasted President Obama on Wednesday over his administration’s treatment of Israel, accusing him of making “inflammatory” statements and putting up “roadblocks” that are hampering the transition.
The incoming president took to Twitter to assure Israel that his administration will bring a new approach, in advance of a speech on the Middle East peace process by Secretary of State John Kerry. The already-turbulent relationship between the Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu governments has lurched into its rockiest stretch yet in the final days of the Obama administration, after the U.S. abstained on an anti-settlement resolution before the U.N. Security Council, allowing it to pass.
Trump tweeted: “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”
And in a swipe at the outgoing president after a period of relative peace between the two, he wrote, “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!”
The Israeli government has turned to President-elect Trump’s team for support in recent days, openly saying they look forward to working with the next president amid fraying ties with the outgoing administration.
Netanyahu has described the U.S. abstention that allowed the U.N. resolution to pass as an “ambush,” and his government has gone on to accuse the U.S. of playing a hand in orchestrating the vote.
In the hours before Kerry’s speech, the Netanyahu government took another shot at the U.S., with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan calling Kerry’s speech a “pathetic step.”
He told Israel Army Radio that “Kerry's intention is to chain President-elect Trump."
The White House has pushed back on claims that the Obama administration helped craft and push the resolution – and on Wednesday morning, denied another report in Egyptian media claiming Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice discussed the U.N. resolution with a top Palestinian official nearly two weeks before Friday’s Security Council vote.
Ned Price, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, called the reports a “fabrication” and said the “meeting never occurred.”
The State Department’s own website reflects that Kerry was scheduled for a meeting with the Palestinian official at the State Department on Dec. 12, around the time of the reported discussions. The official website, however, offers no details on what was discussed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.