Earlier this month, Israel said it was pushing forward construction of 1,200 new homes in Jewish settlements, in an apparent warning to the Palestinians to rethink their U.N. plan. Israel fears the Palestinians will use their upgraded status to confront Israel in international bodies and pressure it to make concessions.
Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the one-time chief negotiator with the Palestinians, also slammed the decision.
"The decision at the U.N. on a Palestinian state is bad for Israel and so is Netanyahu's response," said Livni, who this week formed a new party to compete in Jan. 22 parliamentary elections. "The decision to build thousands of housing units as punishment to the Palestinians only punishes Israel ... the unnecessary statement only isolates Israel further."
In the U.N., only nine states opposed the Palestinian bid, including Israel and the United States, while 138 supported it.
The vote granted Abbas an overwhelming international endorsement for his key position: establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu opposes a full pullback to the 1967 lines.
The Palestinians turned to the U.N. after two decades of on-again, off-again talks.
Netanyahu dismissed the U.N. vote as meaningless and accused Abbas of delivering a "defamatory and venomous" U.N. speech "full of mendacious propaganda" against Israel.
Laub reported from Ramallah, West Bank.
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