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Netanyahu summons US envoy in fallout over UN settlements vote

Jerusalem Planning Committee, meanwhile, expected to OK permits to build 618 apartments in Jewish neighborhoods across Green Line

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro on Sunday, two days after Washington abstained in a vote on a UN resolution against Israeli settlements.

Their meeting came after Israel earlier called in 10 representatives of 14 other states that voted for the resolution.

An official Israeli source confirmed only that Netanyahu and Shapiro had met, without elaborating on the content or outcome of their discussions.

The UN Security Council passed the measure on Friday after the US abstained, enabling the adoption of the first resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

The resolution demands "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem."

It also says settlements have "no legal validity" and are "dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state solution".

Netanyahu, who had rejected the resolution as a "shameful blow against Israel," repeated the Israeli claim that US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were behind the resolution.

At the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: "We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the drafts and demanded to pass it."

"This is of course in total contradiction to the traditional American policy of not trying to impose conditions of a final resolution," Netanyahu said, "and of course the explicit commitment of President Obama himself in 2011 to avoid such measures."

While the resolution contains no sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and goods produced in the settlements.

Approval seen for 618 new apartments

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee, meanwhile, is expected on Wednesday to approve permits to build 618 apartments in Jewish neighbourhoods across the Green Line, Haaretz reported.

The agenda was set before the UNSC resolution was passed on Friday condemning Israeli construction across the Green Line, including in East Jerusalem, as illegal, Haaretz said.

New housing permits continue an upward trend this year in construction plans approved for East Jerusalem compared with the last two years, Haaretz said. In 2016, plans for 1,506 housing units were approved, after 775 units in 2014 and only 395 units last year.

Earlier on Sunday, army radio reported that Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the Israeli security establishment to cease to all cooperation on civilian matters with the Palestinians, while retaining security coordination. 

The measures taken on Sunday join Netanyahu's order to review engagements at the United Nations, including funding for UN agencies and the presence of UN representatives in Israel.

Right-wing Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Saturday night that Israel should "announce a full annexation of settlement blocs" in response to the resolution. 

Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home told army radio that his party would "soon propose a bill to annex Maale Adumim," a settlement city east of Jerusalem.

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