In a move unprecedented in nearly four decades, the United States failed to back Israel over a United Nations Security Council resolution that effectively dictates borders in a potential deal with the Palestinians. And Israel has learned that not only did the Obama Administration fail to veto the resolution, they were the ones pushing for it. “From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comments published by his office. “This is, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement.”
In a stern rebuke rarely seen in public diplomacy, Netanyahu called out President Barack Obama for failing to live up to his own commitment to oppose such U.N. action issued in 2011. At the time, Obama sounded very opposed to what he apparently backs now. “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations,” said Obama in comments still posted on the White House website. “…Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians—not us—who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.” Netanyahu still feels that way and so does incoming U.S. President Donald Trump, who takes office in less than three months.
Prior to the vote, Trump said in statement posted to his Transition website that the resolution should be vetoed and “puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.” And following the U.N. resolution, Trump posted on Twitter, “The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!”
The leader of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee—one of the top diplomacy bodies in Congress—was even more forceful. “The Obama administration’s refusal to veto this one-sided, anti-Israel resolution is a dangerous and counterproductive step,” said Rep. Ed Royce in a statement posted to the Committee website. “It goes against years of established, bipartisan U.S. policy. I look forward to working with the Trump administration to strengthen the U.S.-Israel partnership.”
Netanyahu took a similar stance. On Saturday evening at a ceremony marking the start of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, the Israeli leader unleashed on the Obama Administration’s actions at the U.N. the day before.
“The Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN,” said Netanyahu. “…The entire Middle East is going up in flames and the Obama administration and the Security Council choose to gang up on the only democracy in the Middle East—the State of Israel. What a disgrace.”
Yet looking ahead, Netanyahu spoke of hope despite the resolution. “As I spoke yesterday with leaders in Congress and the incoming American administration, they told me unequivocally: ‘We are sick of this and it will not continue. We will change this resolution. We will not allow anyone to harm the State of Israel.’”
Netanyahu implied that the United Nations could be due for unwelcome surprise in response to this action in the weeks ahead. Said Netanyahu of his comments with the current and future leaders in Washington, “They are declaring their intention to pass legislation to punish countries and bodies that try to harm Israel. They say that this will also include the U.N. itself. I remind you that the U.N. receives a quarter of its budget from the U.S. alone.”
While Trump hasn’t said publicly what he intends to do, he did make it clear the status quo will not continue. The same day as the Israel vote at the U.N., Trump posted on Twitter, “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 25, 2016)