Obama’s diplomatic stab: a broad look at UN Resolution 2334
It is not a secret the anti-settlements stance the US has had since the 70’s when the Gush Emunim movement began to boom among Israeli society. This movement sought the Jews to settle in the newly conquered territories (the Sinai peninsula, Gaza, Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Shebaa farms) as doing so would accelerate the arrival of the “Mashiach.” In fact, Israel’s former President and Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, was instrumental in rebuilding the Avraham Avinu synagogue in Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Peres, who was one of the most sympathetic political figures toward these political and ideological factions in the mid-70s (but would later support an autonomous government system for Palestinians in Gaza and Judea and Samaria), believed in such settlements, according to his ex political rival within the Labor Party, Shlomo Ben-Ami.
Today, it is estimated that more than 400,000 people live in the 102 existing settlements in Judea and Samaria, and more than 200,000 more people live in East Jerusalem. In the case of settlements in Judea and Samaria, 80% of them are less than 4km from the green line prior to the 1967 Six-Day War. According to resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, the international community determined that the conquered land by Israel are “occupied territories.” That is why the United Nations rejects Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.
However, despite the fact that the United States does not support Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem, the United States (since Jimmy Carter’s presidency, who a few months ago argued that Hamas should no longer be seen as a terrorist organization) has unequivocally rejected any resolution against Israel. Sadly, this diplomatic paradigm, under the Obama administration, took a new course. A really dark course. On December 23, 2016, two days after Egypt presented a resolution seeking to condemn Israeli settlements in both Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem, the same text was submitted and adopted by the Security Council by Venezuela, Indonesia, Senegal and New Zealand. On the first occasion the resolution was withdrawn indefinitely by Egypt, owing to Israeli diplomatic pressure and President Donald Trump’s conversation with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. However, the second time was adopted by the Security Council thanks to the abstention of the United States.
This premeditated stab by Obama against Israel was part of his post-election plans as he faces no political cost because he cannot be re-elected, and after Hillary Clinton’s political death. Interestingly, the Obama administration left on the air the possibility that the United States might veto an anti-settlement proposal (although the Israelis knew that there was a high probability that the United States would not veto this resolution) as saying that a decision has not yet been taken. Despite this, about three weeks before the vote, past Secretary of State, John Kerry, met with New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully. McCully, who told Secretary Kerry that before New Zealand’s participation in the Security Council conclude, they wanted to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It is for this reason that after Egypt’s resolution withdrawal, New Zealand and the three previously mentioned countries presented a similar resolution.
Sadly, President Obama’s legacy on the Palestinian-Israeli issue was not only self-buried by him, but this action really undressed the true diplomatic positions Obama believed on. This crude act demonstrates the veracity of those in Washington who talked about Obama’s refusal in offering a $3.8 billion dollars military package to Israel, and that if it had not been for groups like AIPAC and the Republican Jewish Coalition, this agreement would not have been possible. The selfishness of taking actions that go against with what was previously established can create crisis, and that is what Obama did. This act of betrayal of our second largest importer and exporter in the Middle East places Israel in a very weak position when negotiating with the Palestinians. For example, under approved UNSC Resolution 2334, the Kotel falls within those “occupied territories” that would be part of the future capital of the “Palestinian State.” So the Palestinians would have legal legitimacy to claim this in a future negotiation with Israel.
Despite all this darkness, Republicans in both Congress and the Senate, as well as President Trump, have been unequivocally against this diplomatic stab. Even Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have proposed that the United States (which provides 25 per cent of the United Nations consolidated budget) freeze its economic contribution to the UN and assess sanctions against countries that supported this resolution until it is not repealed. Netanyahu called on Israel’s ambassadors in Senegal and New Zealand (Israel does not maintain diplomatic relations with Venezuela and Indonesia) and assesses how to stop the Jewish State’s financial support to the five most hostile entities towards Israel (including the UNESCO).
While Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, fights in Judea and Samaria to close down illegal weapon factories that in areas like Hebron and Ramallah are the source of ammunition to attack Israelis, the UN is wasting its time fighting Israel to humiliate it and take him to a hall to negotiate with the Palestinians at their will. While the rebels supported by the West in Syria kill civilians who try to escape their siege as Daesh does, the UN strives to give way to a measure that will damage Israel’s legacy in the international community (with the support of a liberal America). That is why I am not surprised that in the past Resolution 3379 of 1975 has called Zionism “a form of racism.” The United Nations is so hypocrite that unlike what they had done against Israel, they never passed a resolution against Jordan’s presence in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. Thus, I hope this double-standard changes under President Trump’s global leadership. Therefore, I am confident that President Donald Trump would rather support US embassy’s relocation from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem through its nominee for the American mission in Israel, David Friedman, and will also condemn and attack any anti-Israel moves at the UN. Israel is not alone, and the United States, under this administration, will not be abandoned. It will be history who judges Obama’s amiss move against Israel. A measure that, having been approved by the Security Council, will be very difficult to eradicate.