Why didn’t Obama veto the UN vote regarding the settlements?

On December 23rd the UN took a vote against building in the settlements. This vote was due to the PA pushing for the UN to recognize them as a state, and the settlements as part of their land. The United States has the right to veto such votes, and generally does, due to the relationship between them and Israel and the fact that the UN is very bias when it comes to this issue. If this is all true, why didn’t they veto this vote?

Some may claim that it is because of Obama being pro-Palestinian, others might say that it is because this is the only way to keep the possibility of peace alive, and some might say that it is because of the cold relationship between this administration and Netanyahu’s government. In part, some of these explanations are correct, however, they serve a different purpose.

As I have claimed before, there is a two state solution on the way, but due to the harsh relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama is left out of this solution and will not get any of the credit. I am sure Obama has an idea that something is coming, and that he will not have a part in it. Letting this vote happen and then claiming that it keeps the possibility for peace alive, will be used by him to prove that he had a part in securing a two state solution. This is also being used by Obama to show that even at the end of his administration he is still relevant in the world and is working for peace.

The claim that Obama is doing this as vengeance against Netanyahu is also partly true, but it is not because of their relationship throughout the years. He is trying to hurt Netanyahu because he is not included in the two state solution, even though it was possible during his administration. It is a huge hit to his ego that Trump, of all people, will get the credit for this.

The main question here is what did this really achieve?

In my opinion it did nothing. As sad as this may be, the UN has no real power over any country in the world. It is run by many small countries that do not believe in the existence of the state of Israel. They present this by disproportionately attacking the state of Israel, instead of dealing with other, more pressing matters, such as the killing of civilians in Syria on a daily basis. Even the departing Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, said this was true during his last speech. This vote will not prevent the building in the settlements, nor will it help with achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the PA.

But the real thing that should be understood is that the continuation of building in the settlements is not a bad thing, but will be a huge help with the solution to come.

When the time comes and Netanyahu decides where the new border is going to be, Israel and the UN will have to help the PA establish a country. The building of the settlements will be an important part of the Palestinian’s new infrastructure. Continuing the building will cut the time of establishing a Palestinian country. This is why Netanyahu did not push to stop Benett and the Bait Hayehudi from passing a law that will help continue the construction.

In my opinion this vote only serves Obama by giving him a way to get some credit for the solution to come, while also trying to stay relevant for as long as possible.

About the Author
Roey Nickelsberg was raised in Arad and is currently completing his Masters in Under Water Archaeology at Haifa University.
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