by Marie Shuqha
The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Israel needs to stop immediately with the construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Only the United States abstained in the vote on the resolution. But Israel says it will ignore the resolution.,
On Friday, the UN Security Council rejected for the first time in eight years, a resolution on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. More striking was that the US abstained from the vote Friday, instead of using their veto right against every resolution criticizing Israel like they usually do.
Washington has always protected the Israelis against convictions in the Security Council. But the Obama administration has repeatedly made it clear its opposition to the settlements in occupied territory is not something they longer stand for. Obama passing this resolution shortly before his departure from the White House, came as no surprise. Since the United States this time did not use their veto power, probably has much to do with domestic politics. President-elect Donald Trump, who already caused a stir by appointing a Zionist to US ambassador in Tel Aviv, had called for a veto, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are behind this disgraceful move against Israel and the UN,” an anonymous source within the Israeli government said. “The US and the Palestinians have these extreme anti-Israeli resolution ideas, which causes terror and boycotts, are concocted in secret.”
The office of Netanyahu announced shortly after the decision of the UN that the Jewish state will not comply with this “shameful anti-Israeli resolution” and will continue with its settlement policy. Tel Aviv doesn’t need to fear any sanctions though: the resolution does not contain any form of coercion or sanction threat that Israel complies with international law.
Resolution 2334 actually confirms a host of UN resolutions on the issue which have to this day remained a dead letter. A similar text was still rejected by the US in 2011. Then noted that with such resolution the “peace talks” would be bad for the Middle East.
The resolution underlines that the Israeli settlements are in violation of international law and would make it more difficult for a two-state solution. Currently, more than half a million Jewish settlers live on the West Bank,” which includes East Jerusalem. At the time of the Oslo peace accords, in 1993, there were “only” 250,000. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967.
During Obama’s eight years spent in the White House, the so-called “peace process” didn’t go as planned.
The reactions to the resolution were predictable. Palestinians react happy, AIPAC, the largest Jewish lobby in the US, reported to be “deeply troubled.” The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, criticized the US withdrawal, but has good faith that the new US president and the new UN Secretary-General will present “a new era” of good relations between the UN, the US and Israel.
The text, which prompted Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territory, was accepted by the other 14 members. After the vote, a loud applause followed.
“The resolution that was adopted yesterday at the United Nations is distorted and shameful but we will overcome it,” Netanyahu declared in a first reaction to the vote.
Earlier, Israel’s foreign minister summoned all the ambassadors of ten members of the UN Security Council who voted for the resolution, with him. He wants US Ambassador Dan Shapiro to justify himself in abstaining a US vote.
The New York Times notes that the criticism of Israel in the attitude of the US is escalating. So Netanyahu accuses the Obama administration of having the UN resolution “orchestrated”. Netanyahu made it clear to the outgoing US president, the newspaper said.
“From the information we have, there is no doubt that the Obama administration has initiated this, supported it, coordinated it and has been asked to approve it,”
Netanyahu said at the start of his cabinet. He looks forward to working with the new US president, Donald Trump.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that he has also requested an action plan to be Secretary of State, which should provide clarification within one month on Israeli relations with the UN institutions. Until then, according to local media, diplomatic activities and contacts with the countries that voted for the resolution, shall be frozen. The visit of the Ukrainian Prime Minister to Israel was cancelled at the very last moment.
“It’s time to choose between two alternatives: to surrender our land or sovereignty”, suggested the right-wing education minister, Naftali Bennett. “We tried the first option and it did not work. It is time for the second.” She also advocated to give up the idea of an independent Palestinian state.