Generally, the United States has a reasonably good history of sticking up for Israel, however the opposite is true this time around.
On Friday, the United Nations Security Council proposed a highly controversial resolution: Resolution 2334 which declares Israel’s West Bank settlements as illegal. This resolution passed with 14 votes in its favour.
And this was all thanks to the final vote coming down to the United States who defied heavy pressure from both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President-elect Donald Trump to use its veto powers and chose instead to abstain from voting.
Now, Reuters is reporting that Netanyahu plans to re-assess Israel’s ties with the United Nations following the adoption of this resolution. And rightly so.
On Friday, Netanyahu criticised US President Barack Obama over the allowance of the resolution declaring Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal calling it a “shameful ambush.”
And a shameful ambush it was. Especially when you consider the fact that the US could have easily diplomatically shielded Israel.
But no, the US decided to break with its long-standing approach and this time around, chose not to wield its veto power as it had on many occasions before.
It’s kind of like sticking up for your best friend when others are giving him a hard time and then suddenly down the track deciding to no longer stand up for him.
Talk about burning bridges.
That’s exactly what the US did and it’s downright shameful.
Israel for decades has pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory it re-captured in a 1967 war — the ‘Six Day War’ — with its Arab neighbours including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem after it lost those zones in 1948.
Many countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees, citing a Biblical connection to the land.
And really, there’s nothing wrong with that. Israel is a sovereign nation of its own. War is war and when a war is won, the winner has the right to lay claim to captured land and do with it as it wills. Not to mention of course that these disputed lands are originally Israel’s anyway.
But of course, the usual tensions between Israelis and Arabs prevent any kind of resolution or agreement here — sadly.
And instead, the UN Security Council thought it smart to facilitate giving Israel a malicious Christmas/Hannukah present. Obama helped make it a reality by delivering this malevolent present. I guess you could consider it his parting shot to a long time friend — Israel.
It’s a shot that will be heard around the world and Obama will be remembered for it. It was destined to be that way especially when you consider the fact that Obama never really got along well with Netanyahu and always held a moderate stance on Israeli relations. And especially when you consider the fact that Obama is really a Muslim who actually does not care about Israel’s national interests.
Not only was this parting shot aimed at Netanyahu and Israeli sovereignty, I believe it was also aimed at incoming President-elect Donald Trump because of his outspoken decision to take on a more pro-Israel stance.
Trump has voiced his unflinching support for Israel. He’s a firm defender of Israel and that’s probably best illustrated by the fact that his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism after marrying Jarred Kushner, a New York businessman with a Jewish background.
Trump has also said he wants to move the US embassy to Jerusalem: a step that, as Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains, “every US government has refrained from doing because the future of the disputed city is meant to be resolved as part of direct talks between the two sides for a final status peace deal.”
And when it came down to the UN vote on Friday, Trump posted his strong expression of support for a veto on his Facebook page.
This is what he said:
“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed.
“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.
“This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
Is this move by the United States a co-incidence? I think not.
This is nothing less than a statement being made by Obama to Netanyahu and the burgeoning staunchly pro-Israel Trump administration of how little Israel matters to him.
Let’s hope that Trump stays true to his word and supports Israel indefinitely and unreservedly during his Presidency continuing to maintain peace and friendship between the two nations and allowing Israel — by itself without UN intervention — to facilitate talks between itself and the Palestinians.