Israel reduces relations with 12 Security Council countries: reports

Israel is reducing diplomatic working relationships with 12 countries on the United Nations Security Council after the body voted to condemn Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory last week, according to reports.

CNN reported Monday that Israel suspended working ties with Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand. The report follows a similar story Sunday night in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

On Friday, the Security Council voted 14-0 on a resolution that condemns Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory as a “flagrant violation” of international law and demands a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities” that is “essential for salvaging the two-state solution.”

{mosads}The United States, which has veto power in the Security Council, abstained from the vote, breaking with longstanding U.S. policy to shield Israel from U.N. condemnation and allowing the resolution to pass.

The two other countries that make up the council, Venezuela and Malaysia, previously had no diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was infuriated by the vote, handed down the order, according to the reports.

The curtailing of working relations means Israeli ministers are to keep travel to those 12 countries to a minimum, while foreign ministers from those countries won’t be received by Israel, according to the reports. Business between Israel and those countries’ embassies will also be suspended, the reports say.

But the order does not apply to Israeli ambassadors in those 12 countries, meaning they will be able to continue their work unabated.

The decision to reduce ties comes after ambassadors from China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Spain, Ukraine and Uruguay were summoned to meetings with the Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, was also summoned to a meeting Sunday with Netanyahu.

The order is likely to have little practical effect, as it does not touch trade, security cooperation and other aspects of relations, but it acts as a statement of Netanyahu’s anger at the situation. It also notably excludes the United States, which under President Obama has been on the receiving end of most of Netanyahu’s public lashings.

But Netanyahu has expressed hope of being able to work with President-elect Donald Trump. Members of Congress, too, have pledged legislation to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Israel, including targeting U.S. funding to the U.N.

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