Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:5PM
US President Barack Obama (right) meeting in November 2015 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office in the White House.
US President Barack Obama (right) meeting in November 2015 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office in the White House.

US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has told the whining Israeli prime minister that only he is responsible for Washington’s decision to allow the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Israel for illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The administration of President Barack Obama allowed the UN Security Council resolution to pass on Friday by refusing to veto it, defying extraordinary pressure from Benjamin Netanyahu and the incoming US president, Donald Trump.

Following the vote, Netanyahu accused the Obama administration of "colluding" with the Palestinians and said he looked forward to working with Trump, as well as Israel-friendly members of Congress, "to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution."

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Rhodes turned down Netanyahu’s claim that Obama colluded with other members behind the scenes, saying that the president only informed his national security team on Friday morning of his decision to abstain from the vote.

Members of the UN Security Council vote on a resolution to stop illegal Israeli settlements on December 23, 2016, at UN headquarters in New York. (Photo by AFP)

Rhodes added that the Israeli premier had only himself to blame for the rebuke at the UN Security Council, saying Netanyahu did not pay attention to repeated  Obama administration warnings that increased illegal settlement activity on the occupied Palestinian land could lead to greater pressure from the international community.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today,” Rhodes said.

The vote came a day after Trump personally intervened to keep the measure from coming up for a vote. Israeli officials said they were aware of such plans by the White House and had turned to Trump for support.

Minutes after the Security Council vote was announced, Trump condemned the Obama administration for its decision not to veto the UN resolution, vowing that it would be "different" under his rule.

“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20,” Trump tweeted, referring to his inauguration day.

Rhodes acknowledged that President Obama’s decision would not have much bearing on Trump’s policies, but told him that “there is one president at a time.”

And “President Obama is the president of the United States until Jan. 20 and we are taking this action, of course, as US policy,” he stated.

The audience at the UN Security Council applauds as it adopts the resolution demanding Israel stop illegal settlements, on December 23, 2016, at UN headquarters in New York. (Photo by AFP) 

There was thunderous applause on Friday in the Security Council chamber following the vote, after the Obama administration delivered a parting kick to the Netanyahu regime.  

The decision of the Obama administration, which has grown increasingly frustrated with Tel Aviv’s illegal settlement construction, to abstain from the Security Council’s 14-0 vote is one of the biggest US rebukes of its long-standing ally in recent history.

Given that most of the world is opposed to the Israeli settlements, the UN Security Council action will be almost impossible for anyone, including Trump, to reverse.