The U.S. was considering either an abstention or voting in favor, which would have allowed the motion to pass. On seeing this, Israel contacted the President-elect Donald Trump to weigh in.
The resolution which was moved by Egypt, called for Israel to stop building new settlements, which is a breach of international law.
Hours before the resolution was going to put to the vote in the UN Security Council on Thursday; Egypt withdrew it.
U.S. has used its veto power in the Security Council in the past to shelter Israel from condemnatory resolutions, but U.S. sees the Israeli settlements in West Bank as an obstacle to the peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that:-
Israelis deeply appreciate one of the great pillars of the US-Israel alliance: the willingness over many years of the United States to stand up in the UN and veto anti-Israel resolutions. I hope the US won’t abandon this policy.
The resolution under discussion could have been a different story as there was speculation that the Obama administration might change the strategy in president’s final month in the office, and would have allowed Egypt to pass the resolution for condemning Israel by abstaining from voting in the Security Council. Mr. Obama has had strained relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr. Trump on Thursday urged the Security Council to defeat the resolution. In the statement released, President-elect Trump said:-
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. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.
An unnamed Israeli official told Reuters that Israel had warned Obama administration in advance that Israel will contact President-elect Trump if the U.S. abstained from voting, and also confirmed that Israel had directly asked the President-elect to intervene.
Mr. Trump also spoke directly with Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi by telephone, a statement released by Egyptian President confirmed. The two leaders have agreed to give the incoming U.S. administration a chance to solve the issue, the statement continued. Mr. Trump will take office on January 20.
Some analysts have said that such high influence from a President-elect on a policy issue is unprecedented. Responding to the criticism, an Israeli official stated that “what is unprecedented is to undermine an incoming administration in this way.”
Other four non-permanent members of the Security Council warned that they would go ahead with the resolution if Egypt did not press ahead with its resolution, as they reserved the right to do so.
New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Senegal are the four countries which can go ahead with the move, all of them are non-permanent members of the Security Council serving two-year terms.