Shortly after news broke on Friday that the United States had abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote, thereby allowing the intergovernmental organization to condemn Isreali settlements, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a vague threat to the U.N.
"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th" Trump tweeted.
The U.N. approved a resolution demanding Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory" in a 14-0 vote Friday with the United States as the one abstaining vote, Reuters reported. The resolution declares Israeli settlements have "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law."
Just prior to the U.N.'s vote, it took Trump a little more than 140-characters to undercut President Barack Obama over the resolution. While president-elects generally observe a "one president at a time" policy to ensure a smooth transition of power, Trump opted to issue a policy recommendation of his own Thursday. In a statement posted to his various social media accounts, Trump urged the Obama administration to veto a U.N. resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity.
"The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed," Trump said in a Facebook post published Thursday. "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 claimed the resolution "puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position" and was "extremely unfair."
As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
The United States (along with Russia, France, Britain, and China) has the ability to veto resolutions in the U.N. Obama's decision to abstain from Friday's vote and refrain from exercising the country's veto power stands in stark contrast to the nation's previous moves to protect Israel, a longtime ally, from similar actions.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power claimed the United States' move to abstain but not veto did not represent a change in policy. "The U.S. has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for five decades," USA Today reported Power said Friday. "Our vote does not in any way diminish our steadfast and unparalleled commitment to the security of Israel."
According to a report from the New York Times, Trump had been asked to lean on the White House regarding a veto of the resolution by Israeli officials. Although Trump vowed there would be change at the U.N. following his inauguration, his tweet Friday did not specify how "things will be different" or offer any additional details.