UN vote on resolution against Israeli settlements delayed; Trump had called for veto

UN Security Council delays vote on Israeli settlements

A planned vote Thursday on a draft resolution that calls for an immediate end to Israeli settlement activity on occupied land that Palestinians want for a state was postponed amid pressure from Israel, NBC News reported.

Egypt on Wednesday circulated the draft resolution, which would demand that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pushed for a veto of the measure, which was set for a vote from the 15-member council on Thursday. It is unclear if or when a vote on the measure will take place.

President-elect Donald Trump joined in on the veto calls in a statement Thursday morning. Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said the team notified the White House before the statement's release.

"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," Trump said in a statement. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis."

The outgoing Obama administration had planned to abstain from the vote, which would have been seen as a slight to Israel, several diplomatic sources told NBC. The Obama White House has had tense relations with Israel and previously criticized settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

In a tweet Wednesday, Netanyahu specifically urged the U.S. to veto what he called "the anti-Israel resolution."

In another tweet Wednesday, Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said: "We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted."

Trump has already been decidedly friendlier with Israel than did President Barack Obama, meeting with Netanyahu in September before his election as president. He appointed attorney David Friedman, who backs Israeli settlements, as his ambassador to Israel.

Trump has supported moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a politically charged move that Friedman backs.

— NBC News' Andrea Mitchell and Reuters contributed to this report

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