10 Reasons the UN Resolution Is Ill-Advised

The United States abstention in the UN vote condemning Israel is indeed problematic tragic for the following reasons:

  1. The United Nations has twiddled its thumbs while a half million people have been killed in Syria in the last half decade.   While the UN has not breathed a word about Syria, it has had no problem in achieving unanimity in condemning Israel for building “settlements” in its capital city and on the West Bank — construction that, whatever we may think about it, has not involved any loss of life!  By abstaining in this vote, then US government has become as partner to this outrage.
  2. The resolution does not make any distinction between Jerusalem and the territories.  Building in Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, French Hill and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, including the Kotel, are included in this condemnation.
  3. The resolution will embolden those within the Palestinian population who believe that violence is justified in terms of diplomacy with Israel. It could encourage another Intifada leading to greater loss of life.
  4. Abstaining from vetoing the resolution could make Israel into more of a partisan issue between Republicans and Democrats than it already is.  It plays into the hands of the president-elect.
  5. The resolution is so one sided that it does not call upon the Palestinian  leadership to do anything at all, much less enter into direct negotiations with Israel.  It rewards the Palestinian leaders for not engaging in direct negotiations and shows them that diplomatic gains may be made without direct negotiations.
  6. The lack of an American veto will strengthen those both in Israel and in the United States who view the Iranian Nuclear deal with suspicion.
  7. Ironically, the resolution will strengthen the current right wing government in Israel, encouraging it to annex territory and to increase its already disputed building projects.
  8. The resolution will encourage actions against Israel in the International Criminal Court, demonizing and isolating Israel and weakening those forces in Israel society who seek coexistence.
  9. The UN Resolution, instead of bringing the parties together for peaceful coexistence, makes such coexistence less likely in the future.   Abstaining has made the desired result less achievable.
  10. From Ambassador Dennis Ross  – “If there is one area in the resolution that may be potentially problematic for the future, it is the reference to the settlements being illegal. That could create problems for the one possible formula for resolving the border at some point: settlement blocs and territorial swaps. One way to absorb a significant number of settlers is to permit settlement blocs which are on a small part of the West Bank to become part of Israel; in return the Israelis would swap territory as compensation to the Palestinians. Will that not be more difficult if all settlements are deemed illegal?  Making the concept of blocs and swaps harder to implement is probably not the legacy President Obama wants, and yet it may be one he has just made more likely.”
About the Author
Fred Guttman is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has served on the Commission of Social Action for Reform Judaism. He has been recognized as one of the “50 Voices for Justice” by the URJ and by the Forward Magazine as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.” In March 2015, he organized the National Jewish commemoration in Selma of the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March.