By Sara Ann Haves
The anti-settlement resolution that was passed in the UN Security Council during Israel’s Shabbat eve, on December 23, 2016, was a game changer in international diplomacy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned the international community for months that the Obama Administration might not use U.S. veto power at the United Nations during the lame duck period — after the American presidential elections and before the January 20 transition of power.
Yet, until the Palestinians quickly introduced UNSC resolution 2334, using Egypt as the country to bring it forth, Israel was still hopeful there would be no international condemnation of its settlement policy in last minute UN resolutions, before U.S. President Barack Obama left the White House.
Realizing that Egypt was going to introduce a very negative resolution against Israel, diplomats both from Israel and the campaign staff of U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump, reportedly put pressure on the Egyptian government, and at the last minute Egypt withdrew the UN resolution.
After a few hours of deliberation, New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela, and Malaysia introduced the anti-Israel resolution, and it passed 14-1. The United States abstained as the Obama Administration did not use its veto power.
Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, accused U.S. President Barack Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry, of collaborating behind-the-scenes with the countries that voted for the resolution, implying Israel had evidence of secret negotiations. Dermer said that the evidence would be passed on to the Trump Administration after January 20.
|It is possible
the whole event was
Obama and Kerry
According to Professor Eytan Gilboa, Director of the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University, who spoke recently to journalists in Jerusalem, “It’s possible that the whole event was orchestrated by the United States, by Obama and Kerry, themselves, in collaboration with other members of the Security Council and the Palestinians.”
Regardless of what led up to the anti-Israel UN resolution, the attempt to further isolate Israel among the nations, with a determination to usurp Israel’s sovereignty over parts of its own land, has now become a front-and-center effort of United Nations member states, along with the outgoing Obama Administration.
The resolution itself, Gilboa explains, is highly problematic for Israel. It was the Palestinians who formulated this decision in a highly sophisticated way. “It is a huge success for Palestinian strategy and diplomacy… This resolution is not going to have negotiations, because in my judgement, it will only re-inforce Palestinian “rejectionism” of negotiations vis-a-vis Israel. This is a logical conclusion. If you can get what you want without making any concessions, then why would you negotiate?”
Gilboa claims that 88 senators out of 100 wrote a letter to Obama telling him to veto the resolution. The passing of the UN resolution, without Obama using his veto power, during this particular time period, has set a new precedence in American politics.
“Usually in transition periods, outgoing presidents are not supposed to make any significant changes in American foreign policy, or conduct new initiatives. So, Obama’s decision to abstain (during the UN vote) is an aberration, probably for the first time in the history of transitions. This is even more striking because President-Elect Donald Trump made known his opposition to Obama’s decision.”
Reports indicate that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter had been advising Obama on how to save the “two-state solution,” searching for an international “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before Obama leaves office. Apparently, Carter was looking for a way that would be difficult to undo by the incoming Trump Administration.
The recent passing of the anti-settlement UN resolution 2334 has now given international legitimacy to the global community to condemn Israeli settlements, by claiming that they are “illegal.”
This now challenges previous UN resolution 224, which gave some legitimacy to the settlements as “disputed” territory. Israeli legal experts could argue, in the past, that the territory was “disputed” not “occupied.”
However, UN resolution 2334 now refers to all territory in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), along with East Jerusalem, as “occupied” Palestinian territory. Netanyahu went to the Western Wall to light a Hanukah candle on December 25th, explaining that the Temple Mount where Israel’s two temples stood, is now considered by the UNSC resolution as “occupied” Palestinian land.
Others have said that Jewish families living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City would now be considered living there illegally on Palestinian property, if forced to abide by UN resolution 2334. Furthermore, Netanyahu and other Jewish leaders both in Israel and abroad, are concerned that there are more schemes being developed to further internationalize a “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would be imposed on Israel through the United Nations Security Council in the near future.
Here are some of the plans being reported in the international media:
Secretary of State John Kerry’s planned speech this week will define U.S. parameters for an internationally recognized two-state solution. In this, the United States will, most likely, signal its desire to join 138 other nations who have already recognized a legitimate Palestinian State.
In January 2017, Sweden takes over the rotating presidency of the UNSC. In the past, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, has made anti-Israel remarks bordering on anti-Semitism. The Israeli government recently snubbed her when she came into the country because of her perceived anti-Israel bias. As of January, her country will have the power to sway votes against Israel at the UNSC.
|… Kerry’s peace plan
may be legitimized
in a Security Council vote.
On January 15, 2017, Kerry plans to fly to France to be a part of the French Initiative… a peace conference that Israel is virulently opposed to. At that peace conference, representatives of the Quartet are expected to come together (the UN, U.S., Britain, and Russia). Reportedly, they will define, and refine a UN resolution that UNSC permanent member states will try to force through the UNSC, January 15-19. 2017. That resolution will basically be Kerry’s Middle East plan, legitimized in a UNSC vote, during the time period right before Trump comes into office.
There is a known anti-Israel power bloc in the United Nations, and in UN institutions like UNESCO; and, in UN Human Rights organizations, as well. Netanyahu recently said that Israel will be cutting funds to the United Nations, and expects the American Congress and Trump Administration to do the same.
In the meantime, while the U.S. has always said negotiations should be held directly between Israelis and Palestinians, and should not be internationally forced on either country, that American policy has now changed. Whether President-Elect Trump will be able to undo the damage that the Obama Administration has done to Israel remains to be seen. Certainly, Trump’s ability to protect America’s ally, Israel, especially within a diplomatic framework, has just become a much more challenging undertaking.
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord, from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against Him.” Isaiah 59:19