Former foreign affairs minister David Levy asked Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) Sunday to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ask him to stop with the retaliatory sanctions he issued in response to the United Nations' recent resolution number 2334, which defines all settlements built by Israel as illegal, including all construction in eastern Jerusalem.
The request was made during an event held at the Menachem Begin heritage Center in Jerusalem behind the event's podium admonishes the settlement expansion.
Levy reportedly said to Kahlon, "Tell the prime minister to cut it out with the sanctions," explaining that "You can't be singing Africa's praises just two weeks ago, about how it accepted us, and then move forward with sanctions."
"We know what the situation is with other nations," Levy told him. "There are interests at work. We need diplomats for these things. We shouldn't drop it all now. And if you do lash out, strike the big leaguers, too: China, France, Britain and also the US."
Levy also cautioned Kahlon to move strategically. "Take things one at a time, and do it wisely. I remember what we did when we gained control of the government to strengthen Israel's standing among the nations, and there was a great deal of success in renewed relations with countries that broke away from us in the past."
Levy ended by saying, "I apologize if I overstepped here, but I look at what I said as advice. There comes an age when you dispense advice."
Levy and Netanyahu had a contentious relationship during their years spent together in the Likud party, with the prime minister eventually defeating Levy for the party's leadership. Levy's daughter, Orly Levy-Abekasis is currently the only independent MK in the government: until recently, she belonged to the rightist party Yisrael Beytenu under Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. However, she left Yisrael Beytenu upon its joining the government last May, citing the government's failure to promote social justice issues.
Netanyahu has already announced a long list of countermeasures in light of the UN resolution. These include recalling the Israeli ambassadors to both New Zealand and Senegal, who were among the four countries to submit the resolution (Israel has no diplomatic ties with the other two—Malaysia and Venezuela). The response to Senegal will also include cutting Israeli aid going toward helping the African country develop a more advanced agricultural system.
Another response has been the reprimanding of all 14 representatives of the counties that voted in favor of the resolution in the UN Security Council vote. The ambassadors were summoned to Jerusalem on Sunday—their day of rest, which also happened to fall on Christmas Day—and as such, some sent their deputies.
In a highly unusual move, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro was also summoned for a stern meeting by Netanyahu, who met him at the Prime Minister's Office. The US was the only member of the Security Council not to vote in favor of the resolution; instead, it abstained, a move that nevertheless allowed the resolution to pass. This move drastically broke with precedent, as the US regularly vetoes any anti-Israeli motions in the UN.
Netanyahu also announced to his cabinet members that he will not be meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May during the financial summit that will be held next month in the Swiss town of Davos given that Britian was among those who voted in favor of the resolution, despite May being an outspoken pro-Israeli advocate and a devoted supporter of the British Jewish community.
The Palestinian daily newspaper 'al-Quds' reported Monday morning that US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently drafting a document that he hopes will serve as the framework for a future agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The document details setting a separation along the 1967 border while leaving 75–80 percent of the settlers under Israeli sovereignity. Palestinians will agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the plan envisions, and in return Israel will agree to recognize a Palestinian state whose capital is in east Jerusalem.