US denies discussing UN Israeli settlement measure with Palestine

US denies discussing UN Israeli settlement measure with Palestine

Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:24PM

The White House has vehemently denied accusations that Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice had discussed the recent UN resolution against illegal Israeli settlements with Palestinian officials.

A report, which first surfaced on an Egyptian new website on Wednesday morning, detailed what it claimed was a meeting between the American officials and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat ahead of the UN Security Council’s passing of the anti-Israeli measure on Friday.

Israeli media claimed that Kerry and Rice had discussed the resolution’s draft with Erekat.

Following the accusations, US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price rejected the claims as “fabrication” in a tweet.

“This is a total fabrication. This meeting never occurred,” he said.

This is while, according to the US State Department’s own website, Kerry was indeed slated for a meeting with Erekat on December 12. No details on the meeting were released on the website.

On Friday, the UN Security Council voted 14-0 to pass Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate end to Israel’s “illegal” settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories.

The unanimous vote was made possible after the US broke away from its tradition of vetoing anti-Israeli measures and allowed the resolution to pass by abstaining from the vote.

The decision angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who summoned the representatives of most of the countries backing the measure and reduced diplomatic ties with 12 of them on Monday.

Netanyahu also gave US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro an earful over the measure and accused President Barack Obama and Kerry of planning the “shameful” act.

The Israeli envoy to the US, Ron Dermer, pushed the envelope even further, saying on Monday that Tel Aviv was in possession of “ironclad” evidence that showed Obama’s role in “gang-up.”

He said Israel would hand over the evidence to incoming President Donald Trump’s administration once the New York businessman is inaugurated on January 20.

The report came ahead of Kerry’s highly anticipated speech on Wednesday evening, where he is expected to address the Israeli-Palestinian issue as well as other Middle East conflicts.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called Kerry’s planned speech a “pathetic step,” highlighting the growing tensions between Tel Aviv and Washington.