Donald Trump has taken the unprecedented step of interfering with a U.N. vote on Israel and its settlements vote before he even takes office. The United States has only one President at a time and in the two months between an election and the inauguration the president-elect is not supposed to get involved in his country’s foreign policy decisions.
But according to multiple reports, President Elect Donald Trump has done exactly that. The U.N. Security Council was due to vote on a resolution on Thursday condemning Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. It was expected to pass, as usual. Such anti-Israel resolutions always do and are almost always vetoed by the United States. But this time the Obama Administration was expected not to veto the resolution.
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President Obama has been highly critical of Israel’s expansion of settlements.
So what happened? First people in the Israeli government reportedly reached out to the Trump Transition team for help. Then Mr. Trump spoke directly with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. After their conversation, Egyptian representatives at the U.N. pulled the vote.
Reuters confirmed that the phone call was made, but could not say whether or not Trump and Al-Sisi discussed the U.N. vote.
Thursday morning Donald Trump said the following on his Facebook page about the planned U.N. resolution on Israel:
“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. 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. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
The White House has not commented on what exactly happened on Thursday. But it is an understatement, to say the least, that it is unprecedented for a President-Elect to take such actions involving himself in U.S. foreign policy. But no one should be surprised by anything Donald Trump does.