Israel reduces ties to countries who backed UN resolution on settlements

The motion was the first since 1979 to condemn Israel's settlement policy thanks to the US not using its veto

Israel reduces ties to countries who backed UN resolution on settlements

The Security Council votes on resolution reiterating its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem | Image: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Israel has announced it is reducing ties with countries that voted for a UN resolution demanding an end to the building of settlements on occupied territory.

The historic vote has prompted Israel to call back its ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal and cancel planned visits by Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman and Senegalese foreign minister Mankeur Ndiaye.

It has also cancelled aid programmes in Angola and Senegal.

"Until further notice, we'll limit our contacts with the embassies here in Israel and refrain from visits of Israeli officials to those states, and of visits of officials from those states here," foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.

The countries that voted for the resolution were: Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, the UK, Uruguay and Venezuela. The United States, which has historically vetoed such resolutions, angered Israel by abstaining.

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said she was concerned that, by cancelling visits, Israel would miss out on opportunities to explain its settlement policy, but added that foreign nations "can't take Israel for granted".

She said world leaders should not be able to "make pilgrimages to Israel to learn about fighting terror, cyber-defence and agricultural technologies, and in the UN do whatever (they) want."

Israel's foreign ministry has not commented on reports that PM Benjamin Netanyahu plans to cancel a meeting with Theresa May at next month's World Economic Forum in Davos.

Following Friday's UN vote, Mr Netanyahu took aim at Barack Obama and said the US administration had "not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes".

The motion was the first since 1979 to condemn Israel's settlement policy thanks to the US not using its veto.

The US gives more than $3bn (£2.4bn) a year in defence aid to Israel but, under the Obama administration, it has become frustrated with continued settlement building in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied for nearly 50 years.

Donald Trump has suggested he will take a more pro-Israel stance than Mr Obama, saying "things will be different" after his inauguration on 20 January.

The President-elect has also criticised the UN as a "club for people to get together, talk and have a good time".