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Netanyahu threatens country who sponsored anti-Israel U.N. resolution: 'A declaration of war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully, ahead of last week's controversial vote on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemns Israel for building settlements in land claimed by the Palestinians.

Israeli news website Haaretz was first to report the news, citing anonymous comments from diplomats who have knowledge of the conversation.

Netanyahu was so livid over New Zealand's support of the resolution, according to the report, that he called it a "declaration of war."

"This is a scandalous decision. I'm asking that you not support it and not promote it," Netanyahu reportedly told McCully. "If you continue to promote this resolution, from our point of view, it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations, and there will be consequences. We'll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem."

However, according to Haaretz, McCully refused to back down: "This resolution conforms to our policy, and we will move it forward," he told Netanyahu.

According to Haaretz, Britain also played a major role in developing and drafting the resolution, often consulting Palestinians on what they wanted. Israeli diplomats allege they know that a Western power is behind the resolution, given its wording and phrasing.

And it was Russia, of all countries, that contested to the timing of the resolution, Haaretz reported. Russia's ambassador to the U.N. wanted to postpone the vote until after Christmas, calling into question the council's desire to act so swiftly.

His concerns, however, were met with deaf ears, and the resolution passed with haste.

Israel's government has also said they believe President Barack Obama had a hand in "crafting" the resolution and ensuring that it passed by telling his U.S. delegation to abstain from vetoing it — a break from standard U.S. foreign policy.

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