US Republicans slam Obama for not shielding Israel in UNSC vote

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this image, released by the UN, the audience at the Security Council applauds as it adopts the resolution demanding that Israel stop settlements, on December 23, 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York. (Photo by AFP)

US President Barack Obama is facing major backlash mostly from Republican lawmakers and politicians over Washington’s rare refusal to veto a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution censuring the Israeli regime on persisting settlement expansions.

The strong reaction from US Republicans following Friday’s passage of a Security Council resolution -- slamming Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory in a 14-0 vote as a “flagrant violation” of international law and demanding a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities" – lacked any legal reasoning other than the premise that Washington must always and unconditionally side with the Zionist regime in defiance of the entire international community.

“Today's passage of an ill-conceived resolution on Israeli settlements marks another shameful chapter in the bizarre anti-Israel history of the United Nations,” said Arizona Senator John McCain in a statement.

The fervently pro-Israel senator further stated, “The abstention of the United States has made us complicit in this outrageous attack, and marks a troubling departure from our nation's long, bipartisan history of defending our ally Israel in the United Nations.”

This is while hawkish South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham harshly condemned the outgoing US president and said the Obama administration’s abstention “empowers evil.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin also described the Security Council vote and US abstention as “shameful,” adding: "Today's vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel. Our unified Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel."

Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the Obama administration’s abstention "a failure of leadership and judgment" and vowed to work with the incoming administration of Donald Trump to “reassure” the Israeli regime.

This file photo taken on December 09, 2016 shows a Palestinian protester in front of the Israeli settlement of Qadumim during clashes with Israeli forces. (Photo by AFP)

Moreover, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner also accused Obama of turning his back on Israel while issuing a statement saying, “His days of emboldening our enemies and weakening our friends are thankfully coming to an end.”

“After eight years of waffling on supporting one of our closest allies, President Obama’s decision today marks his final betrayal of Israel,” Gardner added.

However, the harsh Republican reaction was not limited to the Obama administration as it also slammed the international community and threatened to renew congressional measures to cut US share of funding to the United Nations.

“The United Nations will regret this vote and I hope the Obama administration will realize the massive mistake they made on their way out of the door,” Senator Graham said in a statement that also vowed legislative action against the UN, which he described as “anti-Semitic.”

“I anticipate this vote will create a backlash in Congress against the United Nations,” he said. “The organization is increasingly viewed as anti-Semitic and seems to have lost all sense of proportionality. I will do everything in my power, working with the new administration and Congress, to leave no doubt about where America stands when it comes to the peace process and where we stand with the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel.”

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton also made similar threats against the UN and members of its Security Council saying, "The UN and nations supporting this resolution have now imperiled all forms of US assistance. I look forward to working with President-elect Trump and members of both parties in Congress to decide what the consequences for this action will be.”

Washington wields veto power in the UNSC and has most often used it in the past to block any resolutions against Israeli atrocities in occupied Palestinian lands. The Obama administration’s abstention on Friday represented a break from the longstanding US policy of shielding the Israeli regime from UN reproaches.

Meanwhile, Trump vowed that after he takes the helm of the White House, “things will be different.”

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