(The Daily Telegraph newspaper ) President Barack Obama has been accused of “shamefully abandoning” Israel after refusing to block a United Nations resolution demanding an end to the building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In one of the final acts of his presidency, the US abstained from a UN Security Council vote, refusing to use its veto and undermining its relationship with one of its historic allies.
The move was seen as a parting shot by Mr Obama, who also signed the controversial Iranian nuclear deal, after years of acrimonious relations with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister.
It also placed him in open conflict with his successor Donald Trump who had argued strongly for a veto, calling the resolution “extremely unfair to all Israelis”.
There are more than 150 settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in areas Israel captured in 1967. Israel disputes the settlements are illegal and says their status should be determined in talks on Palestinian statehood.
Mr Obama was condemned by senior US politicians across the spectrum. Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, called the decision to abstain “absolutely shameful”. Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, said it had “made us complicit in this outrageous attack” on Israel.