Mahmoud Abbas, despite repeated U.S. requests, insisted on pressing for a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlement construction "illegal." The U.S. vetoed the resolution.
Standing in isolation, all was good.
But the fact is that the U.S. was all too happy to sign onto a Presidential Statement from the President of the Security Council denouncing the "illegitimacy" of Israeli settlements. This proposed compromise was rejected by Abbas, despite a phone call from Obama. The U.S. was willing to throw Israel under the bus, but not all the way; throwing our friends only half-way under the bus is what passes for standing by our friends these days.
But it was far worse. The statement made by Susan Rice immediately after the vote was outrageously one-sided, the type of pandering to the worst elements in the world which has become a pattern for Obama's foreign policy (emphasis mine):
Our opposition to the resolution before this Council today should therefore not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity. On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace…In the telescopic view of the Obama administration, more than 60 years of Arab rejectionism means nothing.
While we agree with our fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world—about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution.
The rejection of the 1947 U.N. partition plan never happened; the war to drive the Jews into the sea never happened; the terrorist attacks on Israel prior to 1967 never happened; the rejection of multiple attempts at territorial compromise during the Clinton administration never happened; the deliberate launch of "intifadas" after Israel proposed compromise never happened; Hamas in Gaza never happened; dozens of suicide bombings killing hundreds of Israelis never happened; continued anti-Semitic propaganda throughout the Palestinian territories never happened; and I could go on and on.
No, the only thing the Obama administration deemed worthy of condemning in Amb. Rice's statement was Israeli settlement activity.
What precisely is a settlement? When Israeli Jews build homes in Hebron, those are condemned as settlements. But never mentioned is the fact that there was an 800-year old Jewish community in Hebron which was driven out by Arab riots in 1929, almost two decades before the creation of Israel. And of course, the entire Palestinian national identity was a creation of the 1960s; until the 1967 war, the West Bank was part of Jordan and Gaza was controlled by Egypt.
Almost everyone recognizes that there will have to be some sort of territorial compromise, but the Obama administration's actions in trying to force Israel back to the precise and indefensible 1967 borders is a prescription for disaster. The Palestinians have shown almost no willingness to compromise over the course of more than half a century.
Palestinian rejectionism, which continues to this day, is the problem, and Amb. Rice should have said so. Or at least balanced her criticisms of Israel with the recognition that the settlements did not happen in a vacuum.
Jennifer Rubin has it right:
Sure, the U.N. once again has proven itself to be a hot-bed of anti-Israel rhetoric. But let's be clear what really happened this week. The U.S. representative, while reluctantly casting a veto, joined the pack of jackals that seek to make Israel the culprit for all that ills the Middle East. Shouldn't THAT be the headline?The actions of this administration, by joining the pack of jackals, were the real illegitimate folly.
Update: Carl in Jerusalem asks, Where is the American Jewish community?, accompanied by an appropriate graphic. The unfortunate fact is that to many American liberal Jews, love of Obama exceeds love of Zion, and the farther left one goes the wider the gap grows. Get used to it.
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