Ukraine has summoned Israel’s ambassador to protest Tel Aviv’s decision to cancel a planned visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.
Israel called off Groysman’s upcoming visit after Ukraine voted in favor of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian lands.
Ukraine has defended the vote and called the resolution as “balanced.” It also “expressed disappointment with the emotional reaction of individual Israeli officials and politicians concerning the vote in New York.”
In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that Eli Belotsercovsky, the ambassador to Ukraine, was summoned in Kiev Monday following Tel Aviv’s decision regarding Groysman’s visit.
The two-day visit to Tel Aviv was scheduled to commence on Tuesday but was called off by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in retaliation for Kiev’s affirmative vote for the UN Security Council’s landmark resolution.
The resolution, passed on Friday with unanimous approval from 14 members of the council with the United States abstaining, called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory,” including East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Outraged by the move, Netanyahu summoned representatives of most of the countries backing the measure and reduced diplomatic ties with 12 of them on Sunday.
Tel Aviv has reportedly suspended working ties with Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand.
The resolution states that the settlement building has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
Palestinian factions in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip have collectively welcomed the resolution, with Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki describing it as a “victory for the Palestinian people.”
Prior to the vote, Tel Aviv attempted to block the vote and prompt a veto by its strongest ally, the United States.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.