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Obama aide: Israel accusing US of being behind UN resolution is a 'distraction

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama (Image source: CNN/Twitter)

Though Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., has pledged to share "clear evidence" the U.S. was behind last week's anti-Israel United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which bars the Jewish state from establishing settlements in territory claimed by Palestinians, one of President Barack Obama's senior aides is calling the suggestion flatly untrue.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper Wednesday, Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said the suggestion that the U.S. orchestrated the controversial vote, from which the White House abstained, is nothing more than "a distraction."

"We never told anyone how we would vote on the text of a resolution because we didn't know what the text of the resolution was gonna be until it was introduced by the Egyptians," the Obama operative told Tapper. "[W]e had not communicated how we would vote, we did not draft it, we did not know what the text was going to be until it was put forward and the president of the United States did not even give instructions to [U.N. Ambassador] Samantha Power as to what her vote would be until the day of the resolution."

"Let's be clear here, Jake," he continued, "This is a distraction. We own the fact that we abstained from this resolution because we believe that was the right thing, so we're ready to defend our decision to abstain on that resolution. I think it's the Israeli government that is trying to have this distraction from the real debate."

Rhodes went on to tell the CNN anchor that the "real debate" is about how Israel's plans to build "deep in the West Bank" and "displacing Palestinians" could be in line with a two-state solution.

The White House adviser's charge follows a report that Vice President Joe Biden "put pressure" on Ukraine to vote "yes" on the anti-Israel resolution in order to guarantee "the optics" of a 14-0 vote.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who tore into Israel during a lengthy speech Wednesday explaining the U.S.'s decision on the U.N. vote, has denied any accusations that the State Department orchestrated the resolution.

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