Israel's Netanyahu Lashes Out at Obama Over UN Vote | NBC Southern California
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Israel's Netanyahu Lashes Out at Obama Over UN Vote

Netanyahu said the U.S abstention was "in complete contrast" to U.S. commitments

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    File Photo -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

    Israel's Prime Minister lashed out at President Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing him of a "shameful ambush" at the United Nations over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his "friend" President-elect Donald Trump.

    Netanyahu's comments came a day after the United States broke with past practice and allowed the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a "flagrant violation" of international law.

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    Although the U.S. opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations.

    The resolution, while mostly symbolic, could hinder Israel's negotiating position in future peace talks.

    Netanyahu said the U.S abstention was "in complete contrast" to U.S. commitments — including one he said Obama made in 2011 — not to impose conditions for a final agreement on Israel at the Security Council. "The Obama Administration conducted a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the U.N.," Netanyahu said.

    The U.S. and much of the international community consider Israel's settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as an obstacle to peace. Netanyahu rejects such claims, blaming the failure of peace efforts on the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's Jewish identity.

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    The decision to abstain from vote is one of the biggest American rebukes of its long-standing ally in recent memory and marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Netanyahu and Obama over the last eight years.

    The Palestinians, meanwhile, welcomed the U.N. resolution.

    Netanyahu called the decision "distorted" but said that Israel will overcome it.

    He said he spoke with U.S leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, who vowed to fight the move, including he said, from Israel's "friend" in the incoming administration.

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    "The decision taken at the U.N. yesterday was part of the swan song of the old world biased against Israel," Netanyahu said. "We are entering a new era and as the President-elect Trump said yesterday, this is going to happen much quicker than people think. In this new era there is a high price for those trying to harm Israel," he said.