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Israel summons envoys over UN vote

AAP logoAAP 24/12/2016

The Israeli foreign ministry has summoned the ambassadors of UN Security Council member states that voted for a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, a ministry spokesman says.

All the ambassadors, except for the US representative, were summoned to the foreign ministry for "personal meetings" on Sunday, spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

The ambassadors were summoned despite the fact that they do not work on Sundays, and it is Christmas, the Ynet news portal reported.

The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution that condemns Israeli settlement building in the Palestinian Territories and called on Israel to halt it, with 14 votes in favour and one abstention.

The United States, which abstained from voting, did not veto the resolution, and that helped to pass it.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also cancelled a visit by his Ukrainian counterpart over the vote, Israel Radio reported.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was expected to visit on Wednesday, but Netanyahu ordered the trip cancelled after Ukraine voted in favour of the resolution, Israel Radio said.

At a Hanukkah event on Saturday night, Netanyahu swore that he would rescind the resolution and said he had ordered the foreign ministry to reassess its relationships with United Nations institutions.

"I instructed the foreign ministry to complete within a month a re-evaluation of all our contacts with the United Nations, including the Israeli funding of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in Israel," Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks.

"I have already instructed to stop about 30 million shekels ($A10.9 million) in funding to five UN institutions, five bodies, that are especially hostile to Israel ... and there is more to come," he said.

The Israeli leader did not name the institutions or offer any further details.

Defying heavy pressure from long-time ally Israel and President-elect Donald Trump for Washington to use its veto, the United States abstained in the Security Council decision.

Israel for decades has pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbours including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees, citing a biblical connection to the land.

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