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UN vote against Israel to make peace negotiations ‘much harder’: Trump

Washington: US President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday that the UN vote demanding Israel halt settlements in Palestinian territory would make a peace deal “much harder,” but said it could happen anyway.

“The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” Trump said in a message on Twitter.

The UN vote Friday marked a stark turnabout in longstanding US custom at the world body.

The Security Council passed the measure after the United States abstained, enabling the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

By deciding not to veto the move, the US took a rare step that deeply angered Israel, which accused President Barack Obama of abandoning its closest Middle East ally in the waning days of his administration.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the resolution as a “shameful blow against Israel at the United Nations.”

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, had bluntly said Thursday that Washington should use its veto to block 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,” he said in a statement.

Trump has chosen as ambassador to Israel the hardliner David Friedman, who has said Washington will not pressure Israel to curtail settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

AFP