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Although the impetus for the president-elect's message was not immediately clear, it comes after a Friday resolution by the U.N. Security Council calling for a halt to Israeli settlement-building.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unrelenting in his criticism of the Obama administration over what he condemned as its "shameful" decision not to veto the U.N. vote.
But with the clock ticking down on Barack Obama's presidency, a possibly more amenable Trump due to succeed him on Jan. 20 and a $38 billion U.S. military aid package to Israel a done deal, it's all a calculated risk for the four-term, right-wing Israeli prime minister.
Netanyahu, after what critics are calling a stinging defeat on the international stage, is already maneuvering to mine deep-seated feelings among many Israelis that their country and its policies towards the Palestinians are overly criticized in a world where deadlier conflicts rage.
He has tried to rally Israelis around him by portraying the anti-settlement resolution as a challenge to Israel's claimed sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.
Trump has promised to reverse decades of U.S. policy by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Speaking on MSNBC on Monday, Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, accused the Obama administration of orchestrating Friday's U.N. vote behind the scenes, despite U.S. denials.
The diplomatic drama unfolded over the Christmas holiday, with twists and turns unusual even for the serpentine path followed by Netanyahu's relationship with a Democratic president who opposes settlement building.
On Thursday, Netanyahu successfully lobbied Egypt, which proposed the draft resolution, to withdraw it — enlisting the help of President-elect Trump to persuade Cairo to drop the bid.
But the Israeli leader was ultimately outmaneuvered at the United Nations, where New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia, resubmitted the proposal a day later.
It passed 14-0, with an abstention from the United States, withholding Washington's traditional use of its veto to protect Israel at the world body in what was widely seen as a parting shot by Obama against Netanyahu and his settlement policy.
—Reuters and CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report