UNITED NATIONS — Defying pressure from President-elect Donald Trump and lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration Friday allowed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a contentious resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.
The administration’s decision not to veto the measure broke a longstanding U.S. tradition of serving as Israel’s diplomatic shield.
It came a day after Trump personally intervened to keep the draft measure, proposed by Egypt, from coming up for a vote Thursday, as scheduled. Trump’s aides said he spoke to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Both men also spoke to the Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Egypt postponed the vote.
But in a show of mounting frustration, a group of other countries on the 15-member Security Council — all of them relatively powerless temporary members with rotating 2-year seats — snatched the resolution away from Egypt and put it up for a vote Friday afternoon.
It passed with 14 votes in favor, with the United States abstaining.
The departing Obama administration has criticized Israel’s settlement building, describing it as an impediment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump has made clear that he will take a far more sympathetic approach to Israel when his administration assumes office in a month.
Trump’s comments on the issue amounted to his most direct intervention on U.S. foreign policy during his transition to power.
Following the vote, the president-elect tweeted that things for the United Nations would “be different after Jan. 20th.”
As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, had urged the U.S. delegation to block the measure.
“This resolution is a Palestinian initiative, which is intended to harm Israel,” he said in a statement.