With President Barack Obama’s abstention at the United Nations Security Council on Friday, the Democratic Party is now an anti-Israel party.
There can be no possible pretense at bipartisanship any longer. Freed, as he told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012, to have more “flexibility,” with no more elections in sight, lame-duck Obama and UN Ambassador Samantha Power expressed their true colors by reversing decades of U.S. policy and allowing a profoundly anti-Israel resolution to pass.
President Obama’s refusal to veto today’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements sends a strong message that the United States still supports a two-state solution. Ending settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is an absolute necessity if we’re ever to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
First of all, settlements are not the obstacle to peace. If they were, Palestinians would not have launched rockets at Israelis and dug terror tunnels after Israel pulled all of its settlers out of Gaza in 2005.
Second, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bowed to American pressure several years ago an adopted a “settlement freeze,” but Palestinians still rejected negotiations.
Third, the UN resolution does not encourage a two-state solution: if anything, it encourages Palestinians to believe they will get rid of Israel, because it recognizes no legitimate Israeli presence east of the 1949 armistice line — not even in the Old City of Jerusalem, and not even in the ancient Jewish city of Hebron, already protected by an agreement.
The White House’s Ben Rhodes — errand boy for Obama on every single one of his failed foreign policies, from Benghazi to Iran to Cuba — told the Jerusalem Post that it was necessary to allow the UN Security Council resolution to pass because the administration had “tried everything” to bring about peace. Everything — except pressure the Palestinians, of course. When the new Republican Congress wanted to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority over its support for terror and incitement, President Obama exercised a waiver and made sure the funds went through. And that is just one of countless examples.
Time and again, when pro-Israel activists wanted to pressure the Obama administration, they were told by leaders of the American Jewish establishment that they should not make Israel a partisan issue. Well, now it is one — irreversibly. The Democrats stand with Palestinian terrorists, and the dictators of the UN. The Republicans stand with Israel. End of story.
The text of the resolution repeatedly and wrongly refers to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.” This fraudulent language technically places the Western Wall and Temple Mount plaza under the “Palestinian territory” qualification.
As I pointed out earlier this week, and numerous times in the past, existing international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal.
What Obama has done by refusing to veto a resolution calling for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” is set the stage for an enhancement of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world.
Indeed, the BDS campaign will now be placed on steroids, since the anti-Semitic campaign can point to the resolution as so-called evidence that products made in the settlements were produced in “illegal territories.”
The resolution also usurps U.S. policy toward Israeli settlements weeks before Donald Trump is slated to be sworn into office.
The UN measure entirely contradicts a Bush administration commitment to allow some existing Jewish settlements to remain under a future Israeli-Palestinian deal. As I documented earlier this week, that U.S. commitment, which the Obama administration has repeatedly violated by condemning settlement activity, was reportedly a key element in Israel’s decision to unilaterally evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005.
While couched in diplomatic language of “Israeli settlement activity,” the resolution basically exclaims that Jews building in settlements is an impediment to peace, implying that a future Palestinian state must be Jew-free.
If the Palestinians wanted a state, they would not have to resort to introducing anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. Israel has offered the Palestinians a state in much of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a shared capital in Jerusalem numerous times. These offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and more offers were made in 2008. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers.
The PA has failed to respond to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including freezing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and releasingPalestinian prisoners.
President-elect Donald Trump responded to the UN Security Council’s passage of an anti-Israel resolution Friday — thanks to U.S. abstention by President Barack Obama — by Tweeting: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) agreed, in a statement after the vote: “The United States provides considerable financial assistance to the United Nations and Security Council members. The UN and nations supporting this resolution have now imperiled all forms of U.S. assistance. I look forward to working with President-elect Trump and members of both parties in Congress to decide what the consequences for this action will be.”
Currently, the U.S. spends “approximately $8 billion in mandatory payments and voluntary contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations,” according to Fox News. The U.S. accounts for 22% of the UN’s regular budget.
Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms. At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall “occupied territory.” The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes. Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.