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Israeli ambassador to UN slams 'evil' vote on settlements

A senior Israeli politician has accused the UN Security Council of "hypocrisy" after it voted to stop the country building new settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.

Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the council, said the "evil" vote was a "victory for terror, a victory for hatred and violence".

"Who gave you the right to issue such a decree, denying our eternal rights in Jerusalem?" he added.

While thousands are being massacred in Syria, this council wasted valuable time and effort condemning the democratic state of Israel for building homes in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

We have presented the truth time and again to this council, and implored you not to believe the lies presented in this resolution.

By voting 'yes', in favour of this resolution, you have in fact voted 'no'. You voted no to negotiations, you voted no to progress, and a chance of better lives for Israelis and Palestinians. And you voted no to the possibility of peace.

– Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to UN Security Council

Palestinian official hails UN vote as 'a day of victory'

Saeb Erekat holds up a map of Israel during a speech in January. Credit: Reuters

A senior Palestinian official has hailed the UN Security Council vote as "a day of victory".

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "This is a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilised language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel.

"The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation... but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line", he added.

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Trump on UN vote: Things will be different on January 20

Commenting on the UN resolution demanding Israel stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, President-elect Trump has tweeted that "things will be different after January 20" - referring to his planned inauguration.

Washington allowed the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution by abstaining from the vote.

Paul Ryan: UN Security Council vote absolutely shameful

Paul Ryan addresses a crowd earlier this month. Credit: Reuters

US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan and Republican Senator John McCain have slammed the Obama administration's decision to abstain in the UN Security Council vote.

In a statement, Ryan said the decision was "absolutely shameful" and a "blow to peace".

Meanwhile McCain said the move "has made us complicit in this outrageous attack."

'The US has abandoned its only friend in the Middle East'

Yuval Steinitz attends a news conference earlier this year. Credit: Reuters

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has said the US has abandoned Israel by abstaining in a UN Security Council vote demanding an end to Israeli settlements.

He told Channel Two News: "This is not a resolution against settlements, it is an anti-Israel resolution, against the Jewish people and the state of the Jews. The United States tonight has simply abandoned its only friend in the Middle East."

US defend UN vote on Israel settlements

A construction site is seen in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit. Credit: Reuters

The US Ambassador to the UN has said Israel's continued settlement building "seriously undermines Israel's security".

Washington allowed the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution by abstaining from the vote.

Samantha Power told the council after the vote: "The United States has been sending a message that the settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades.

"One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two state solution that would end the conflict. One had to make a choice between settlements and separation."

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UN votes to stop Israel building on occupied territory

A construction site, pictured on the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, in the occupied West Bank. Credit: Reuters

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution demanding Israel stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.

The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal.

Egypt withdrew from voting on Thursday after coming under pressure from Israel.

The US abstained after Donald Trump called on the country to veto the measure.

The motion was adopted with 14 votes in favour to a round of applause.

Trump to nominate David Friedman as Israel ambassador

Donald Trump Credit: PA

Donald Trump will nominate bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel, the President-elect's team said in a statement.

"(Friedman) has been a long-time friend and trusted adviser to me. His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East," Trump said in the statement.

Friedman said he would work tirelessly to "strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem."

The US embassy has for decades been located in Tel Aviv.

Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to move it to Jerusalem, a move almost certain to provoke objections from Muslims around the world.

The United States and other powers do not regard Jerusalem as Israel's capital and do not recognise Israel's annexation of Arab East Jerusalem following its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.

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