JERUSALEM – Israel found a surprising ally on the UN Security Council Thursday, when Egypt apparently postponed a vote on a resolution aimed at condemning the Jewish state and demanding a halt to building communities in biblical Judea and Samaria.
A report in the Ha'aretz daily online version suggested that Israel pressured Egypt into the postponement, but there was no confirmation from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President-elect Donald Trump appealed to the U.S. for a veto.
"Israelis deeply appreciate one of the great pillars of the US-Israel alliance: the willingness over many years of the US to stand up in the UN and veto anti-Israel resolutions," Netanyahu said in a video appeal released by his office. "I hope the U.S. won't abandon this policy."
The U.S. has always been Israel's veto security net in the U.N. Security Council, but many had feared President Obama would refrain from instructing the U.S. ambassador to veto the resolution as a final parting blow to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said Obama himself had said in 2011 that Israeli-Palestinian peace would not come through UN resolutions, but through direct negotiations.
"And that's why this proposed resolution is bad. It's bad for Israel; it's bad for the United States; and it's bad for peace," Netanyahu said.
"Ultimately, you don't know whether you're getting the veto until you get there, unless the United States announces its intention," Ambassador Dore Gold told journalists earlier. Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N., served until recently as the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Egyptian-drafted resolution calls into question the validity of all Israeli settlements in biblical Judea and Samaria, a.k.a., the West Bank, and demands a complete halt to settlement construction.
More than 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem. It's an area that Palestinians want to include in a future state.
U.S. policy for decades has condemned Israeli construction in the territories, but Trump has signaled that could be changing.
The Jewish state asked President-Elect Donald Trump, a sworn friend of Israel, to condemn the resolution.
"We did reach out to the President-elect and are deeply appreciative that he weighed in, which was not a simple thing to do," an Israeli official told CNN.
Donald Trump then issued a statement showing his support for the Jewish State.
"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," he said in a statement on Facebook. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.
Gold said according to the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the PLO, the issue of settlements was supposed to be resolved in negotiations but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas won't talk to Israel.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet called the U.N. a "Guinness world record for hypocrisy."
Watch Naftali Bennet's video message above.
"Just a half an hour from here, there's a genocide going on, Bennett said in a reference to the civil war in Syria. "Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children – innocent – are being slaughtered as we speak."
"Yet the U.N. is going to convene to tell us not to convene a house here in Jerusalem, pave a road, open up a kindergarten. That is from the U.N. Security Council perspective, the number one issue," Bennett said in a video message with Jersualem in the background.
"Here in Israel, we're at the forefront of the battle between radical Islamic terror and freedom," Bennett said naming a list of terror organizations on its borders, including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and ISIS.
"Whoever today supports a U.N. Security Council resolution against Israel is in effect raising his hand for the bad guys, for the terrorists," Bennett added.