The decision by the United States (US) to abstain from the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has caused great anger and surprise within the Jewish state. But the questions to ask are, not only why has the United States gone down this road, what does it mean for the special relationship between the US and Israel and what now going forward?

Background information

Before we proceed, let us provide some background to the situation. On Friday 23rd December 2016 the UNSC passed a resolution which as stated above condemned Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as reported by CNN.

However what caused most concern within Jerusalem and beyond was the fact that the United States abstained on the resolution. This is significant as, for most of the time in recent history, the US has vetoed such resolutions which in turn prevents its passage. As a result fourteen countries including Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela voted in favour of the resolution with none voting against the measure. However, it is the fact that the United States did not support Israel and instead abstained which is why there is so much discontent within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Why did the US abstain?

The first question to ask is, why did the US and in particular President Obama abstain in the first place?

It is clear that the US have become frustrated by the actions of Israel. Continuing to act without a thought of the international community was a key driving force behind the US's decision to abstain. It is largely due to this slightly narrow minded behaviour by Israel which led to what the Algemeiner website stated, was sometimes a "hostile relationship" between Obama and Netanyahu.

However, although the official line as stated by the US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power that the current policy of settlement building would "destroy the two-state solution", there seems to be more to it than that. Since the passage of the resolution there have been numerous criticisms levelled at President Obama. The Hot Air website stated that Obama acted as a form of payback due to his relationship with Netanyahu and that with only three or so weeks left in office, wanted to leave, as the Washington Post noted, "a dangerous parting shot" to Israel.

Born out of frustration also, it may be.

What about the special relationship?

With regards to where it leaves the special relationship between the countries, it is actually likely to improve greatly. This is the case not only for the fact that Obama is leaving but crucially because Donald Trump is the next president. There is no hiding the fact that Trump is a major Israeli supporter. As reported on the Times of Israel website, his intentions to move the US embassy to the "eternal capital" Jerusalem, his desire to "dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran", the fact that he wants to "work closely" with Netanyahu and his statement that Israel will "forever exist as a Jewish state" illustrates that.

What this demonstrates is that, if anything, the relationship should grow going forward.

What now going forward?

With regards to the final question, what now going forward, a few things are clear. It is clear that Israel will have the support of the US. Donald Trump will definitely see to that. But even so, they cannot ignore the growing concerns within the international community to the building of further settlements in the occupied territories. Although having the help of the US is extremely helpful and beneficial, it is simply not enough. Netanyahu must wake up and see the reality in front of Israel. They cannot continue to act without thinking of those around them. It is not a viable solution. If they do, the problems will only persist, it will only lead to greater isolation and will surely lead to further trouble with the UN in the future.