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Former US ambassador criticizes Israel's UN reaction

December 26, 2016

Daniel Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to Israel, has criticized the Israeli response to the recent UN Security Council resolution. He said the relationship between Israel and the US is as strong as ever.

Daniel Kurtzer US Botschafter in Israel
Image: Getty Images/AFP/T. Cohen

In an interview with an Israeli radio station on Monday, Daniel Kurtzer - who served as the American ambassador to Israel under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 - said the Israeli response to last week's UN Security Council resolution was "unprecedented."

"The language being used against the President of the United States is itself unprecedented," Kurtzer told GLZ Radio, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion that the Obama administration was behind the resolution. "It really should not be language that an ally uses with an ally, however angry someone is. It's just not proper, and unacceptable."

The US abstention during the vote on the resolution opened the way for the Security Council on Friday to pass a resolution demanding "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

In response, Israel summoned the ambassadors from countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution, including permanent members China, the UK and France. The US ambassador was also summoned.

Israel has also vowed to reassess its relationship with the United Nations.

Kurtzer maintained that the past eight years, the relationship between Israel and the United States "is on very strong ground" despite a number of disagreements between the two countries.

"But none of these differences accounts for the nasty language that's being used," Kurtzer said. "I think we have to find a way to get beyond this and try and deal with some of these differing views more privately."

US president-elect Donald Trump has also condemned the UN resolution, and his nomination for the next ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is strictly against a two-state solution that would see an end to Israeli settlement construction.

mz/rc (AP, dpa)