The image of Samantha Power at the U.N. Security Council last week is haunting. Without hesitation or uncertainty, the U.S. ambassador supported a resolution casting Israel as responsible for the continuing conflict (for that is what the U.S. abstention was). She gave no hint of embarrassment, reluctance or remorse. Her eyes were not downcast. She was not tentative. Instead, she leaned forward in her chair and raised her hand high.
Her body language was clear: “We’ve been waiting for this.”
And apparently it is not over. Either President Obama or Secretary Kerry is planning to follow-up with some kind of parameters for Israel and the Palestinians going forward, perhaps even recognizing the failed and violent societies in the West Bank and Gaza as the State of Palestine.
President Obama and his supporters may want us to believe that they are exercising tough love and are determined to protect Israel from itself. Perhaps they even believe it. The settlements, they tell us are the obstacle to peace, a mortal threat to Israeli democracy, and the cause of the continuing conflict.
Although the President has gotten just about everything wrong in the Middle East over the past eight years, he presumes, in his final days in office, to have the wisdom and vision to map the future course of events. This is arrogance.
The damage is severe. The Palestinians are emboldened. They have no incentive – none – to reflect upon their own destructive behavior or to recognize the compromises that peace requires. International Criminal Court, here they come.
The message to Israel is brutally mean-spirited. The resolution lumps Israelis together with Palestinians in calling for an end terror. With U.S. assent, it deems even the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to be illegally occupied territories.
This is statecraft? What school of diplomacy teaches this idiocy?
Where is the call for Palestinians to end their insistence on a right of return, which is a call for a two Palestinian state solution? Why is there no insistence that Palestinians recognize the inescapable reality that Israel is the state of the Jewish people, precisely and explicitly as it was conceived by the U.N. in its 1947 partition plan? Where is the demand that Palestinians – not “the parties” – but the Palestinians end their incitement, celebration of terror and lies that Israel is planning to destroy Muslim holy sites?
Why does profound Palestinian dysfunction merit no meaningful censure?
However President Obama and his supporters regard settlements, the glaring omissions from the resolution required that the U.S. veto it. Ambassador Powell’s post-vote speech as to why the U.S. abstained actually explained exactly why the U.S. should have stopped this travesty. Instead, the U.S. supported a skewed pronouncement that can only embolden Palestinian rejectionists and alienate Israeli moderates. It already has.
The reality is that had the draft resolution called out Palestinian culpability it never would have come up for a vote, no less been adopted. The Palestinians, exercising what is effectively their Security Council veto power, would have made sure of that.
The refusal of the international community to tell the truth to the Palestinians has doomed the so-called “peace process” from its beginnings. It is both appalling and dispiriting that the outgoing Obama Administration has now signed on as a willing participant in this farce.