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U.S.-Israeli relations about to enter new chapter under Trump

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. (Abir Sultan, Pool via AP)

The last several days of U.S.-Israeli diplomacy have gone much like the rest of the past eight years, as frustrations between the two nations were exposed over a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The resolution, which condemns Israel for constructing settlements in land claimed by the Palestinians, was passed during Friday's vote — and the U.S. abstained from participating.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not take kindly to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain, accusing the U.S. of not only failing to protect Israel "against this gang-up at the U.N.," but also colluding with it "behind the scenes."

The New York Times explained today how the move was the final plot point in a years-long adversarial relationship between Obama and Netanyahu.

For Mr. Netanyahu, it was the final betrayal by a president who was supposed to be an ally but never really was. For Mr. Obama, it was the inevitable result of Mr. Netanyahu’s own stubborn defiance of international concerns with his policies.

The two sides did little to hide their mutual contempt. After talks led them to conclude that Mr. Obama would not veto the resolution, as presidents of both parties have done in the past, Israeli officials essentially washed their hands of the incumbent and contacted his successor in the wings. President-elect Donald J. Trump promptly put out a statement calling on Mr. Obama to veto the resolution.

When that ultimately did not stop the Council from acting, Mr. Netanyahu’s team expressed blistering anger at Mr. Obama. An Israeli official, insisting on anonymity to maintain the veneer of diplomatic protocol, gave a statement to multiple reporters on Friday blasting Mr. Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, by name.

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” the official said. “The U.S. administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.”

But U.S.-Israeli relations are about to enter a new chapter.

For Israel's part, they decided to move past Obama entirely. Last week, they contacted President-elect Donald Trump, who put out a tweet saying that the resolution should be vetoed.

Trump has signaled that he plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem when he takes office — a move Obama has fought for years.

One last thing…
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