Following today's surprising decision by the US' Samantha Power to abstain in a UN vote over Israel settlements, one which provoked Israel to lash out at the Obama administration "friends don't act that way", but more importantly defied Trump who in a previous tweet urged Obama to veto the resolution, it was only a question of how long before Trump tweets his response. The time was less than an hour, because just minutes after the vote, the president-elect slammed the current administration's decision, while ominously warning the UN that it would be "different" under his presidency.
"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," Trump tweeted Friday.
As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
As a reminder, the U.S. had the ability to veto any resolution but abstained from doing so, despite pressure from Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. lawmakers on both sides. Furthermore, the administration’s decision to let it pass represents a break from the longstanding U.S. policy of shielding Israel from U.N. reproaches.
To be sure, there is another side to the story, with Israel’s settlements have long been seen by critics as human rights violations as an obstacle to achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In any case, Trump pressured Obama before the U.N. vote to veto the resolution.
"As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” the president-elect said in a statement Thursday. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., explained the move in a statement to the council, condemning Netanyahu for continuing settlement expansion while paying lip service to the idea of a two-state solution.
“One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict,” she said. “One has to make a choice between settlements and separation.”
Noting Trump's curious engagement, Glenn Greenwald tweeted moments ago that "It is rather bizarre that Trump, after running on "America First," wants to isolate US from the entire world to defend Israeli occupation..."
It is rather bizarre that Trump, after running on "America First," wants to isolate US from the entire world to defend Israeli occupation... https://t.co/Jqd0REtFYn
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 23, 2016
Meanwhile, Israel's PM Netanyahu said that his country would not abide by the UN resolution's terms, which he rejected as "shameful", prompting questions if Israel is now a "rogue" UN member nation...
Below is a statement by Israel's Prime Minister Office. pic.twitter.com/c13mRAu3Lt
— Amb. Dani Dayan (@AmbDaniDayan) December 23, 2016
... and leading to a direct face off between Trump and Obama on the topic of Israel.
No matter who is right or wrong on this particular issue, however, the UN may want to start scoping out leases in neighboring buildings, because if Trump is indeed as angry as his tweet suggests, the UN building in midtown Manhattan may soon find itself looking for new tennants.