The United States has abstained at a UN Security Council vote determining the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in Palestine, a Muslim territory at the center of over half a century of ethnic and religious conflict.
The abstention breaks with previous policy, in which the Americans covered for Israel, its longstanding nuclear-armed ally.
In the UN resolution, Israeli settlements in Palestinian land are declared to be illegal and a hindrance to creating a two-state solution. The successful yes vote weakens the Jewish state’s position in future diplomacy.
Before the vote, Israeli officials looked to Donald Trump for support. The President-elect gave it to them.
After the vote, Trump gave an ominous tweet.
As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
Since its founding in 1948 on then-British territory of Palestine, Israel has faced off against an array of military and religious forces, ranging from multinational coalitions to militant Islamist groups more recently. The Palestinian population has found itself caught in the middle of this longstanding conflict, suffering thousands of casualties from Israeli counter-insurgency operations in the last decade.