On December 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted by a vote of 14-0, with 1 abstention (the U.S.), a resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal. In his statement following the vote, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said the following:
"Mr. President, today is a dark day for this Council. The resolution we just voted on is the peak of hypocrisy. While thousands are being massacred in Syria, this Council wasted valuable time and efforts condemning the democratic state of Israel for building homes in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
We have presented the truth time and again to this Council, and implore you not to believe the lies presented in this resolution. By voting yes in favor of this resolution, you have in fact voted no. You voted no to negotiations. You voted no to progress and a chance for better lives for Israelis and Palestinians. And you voted no to the possibility of peace.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing this very Council one week ago, said that the UN has, and I quote, 'a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports, and conferences criticizing Israel.' This resolution today will be added to the long and shameful list of anti-Israel UN resolutions.
Instead of charting a course forward, you are sending a message to the Palestinians that they should continue on the path of terrorism and incitement. That they should continue to hold their people hostage. That they should continue to seek meaningless statements from the international community. The sad truth is that today's vote will be a victory for terror. It will be a victory for hatred and violence. By continuing to provide excuses for the Palestinians to avoid recognizing our right to exist, you are only maintaining the status quo.
The world is undergoing great change and the new Secretary-General will soon assume office. I call on this Council to take this opportunity to turn a new page, put an end to the bias and obsession with Israel, stop this endless attempt to blame all the problems of the Middle East on the one true democracy in the region, and make clear to the Palestinians that the only way, the only way forward, is to end incitement and terror and to enter into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.
Just two months ago UNESCO approved an absurd resolution denying the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. Today this Council, including many of the world's leading democracies, the beacons of liberty, voted to condemn the state of Israel. You voted to condemn the Jewish people for building homes in the land of Israel. You voted to ban us from building in our historical capitol of Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the Jewish people.
Read the resolution. Tomorrow night Israel and the entire Jewish community around the world will celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. Over 2,000 years ago King Antiochus banished the Jewish people from our temple in Jerusalem and issued decrees trying to sever us from religion and our heritage, but we prevailed. The Jewish people fought back. We regained our independence and relight the menorah candles in the temple.
I ask each and every member of this Council who voted for this resolution, who gave you the right to issue such a decree denying our eternal rights in Jerusalem? Would this Council have had the nerve to condemn your country for building homes in your capitol? Would you ban the French from building in Paris? Would you ban the Russians from building in Moscow? Would you ban the Chinese from building in Beijing? Would you ban the British from building in London? Would you ban the Americans from building in Washington? We overcame those decrees during the time of the Maccabees and we will overcome this evil decree today.
We have full confidence in the justice of our cause and in the righteousness of our paths. We will continue to be a democratic state based on the rule of law and full civil and human rights for all our citizens. And we will continue to be a Jewish state, proudly reclaiming the land of our forefathers where the Maccabees fooled their oppressors and King David ruled from Jerusalem.
This holy book, the Bible, contains 3,000 years of history of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. No one, no one, can change this history."