The U.N. was expected to vote today on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, and reports indicate that Obama was ready to allow the resolution to pass until Egypt put off the vote. President-elect Donald Trump put pressure on Egypt not to go forward with the resolution, and it seems to have had an effect. Charles Krauthammer said that the resolution could have done serious damage to Israel, making Trump’s involvement daring and effective:
More than a slap on the wrist, I think it would have done permanent damage to Israel, which is why even Obama himself several years ago vetoed the resolution, because it sets conditions that take away all of Israel’s bargaining chips. In other words, it gives everything over to the Palestinians in advance in return for nothing from the Palestinians, no recognition of a Jewish state, no concessions at all. And I think what happened today was very important. The reason is that had Obama done what it looks like he was going to do, which is to have the U.S. abstain, the resolution then passes. And it will never be reversed. Because in order to be reversed, you’ve got to get the Security Council to vote to reverse it, and the Chinese and Russians would exercise a veto.
So this would have been one last shot at Israel, and particularly at Israel’s prime minister from Obama. An act of kind of — I don’t know if it’s ideological, but a lot of personal revenge. What Trump did was unprecedented. For a president-elect to step in, to publicly oppose it, and essentially to tell Egypt that introduced the resolution, “You better withdraw this or you won’t have a friend in the white House” at a time when Egypt needs a friend in the White House. So it was extremely effective, and extremely daring. You don’t normally get that from a president-elect.