UN vote a slap at Netanyahu than defense of peace
Rather than do what she has done repeatedly during the Obama administration UN Ambassador Samantha Power abstained from a critical vote condemning Israel’s racist and illegal Jewish-only settlements. But the vote is irrelevant in the face of America’s do-nothing policies and the do-nothing policies of the Arab and the Muslim Worlds.
Published in the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com Dec. 29, 2016. Full UN Resolution published at the end of the column
By Ray Hanania
Much is being made of President Barack Obama’s decision not to veto a United Nation Security Council resolution declaring what the whole world already believes, that Israel’s settlements are illegal and in violation of international law.
Israel’s extremist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to withdraw from the UN body. Obama’s critics have slammed him as “anti-Semitic.” The pro-peace movement of Arabs and Jews has hailed the move as a step forward. President-elect Donald Trump warned the vote makes it harder to negotiate a final peace.
It is none of that, of course. All the praise and criticism is just a manifestation of the lack of will that the United States and even the Arab and Muslim Worlds have to end the conflict by creating a Palestinian State.
What is the point of an abstention? Maybe it was little more than a personal shot by Obama against Netanyahu. Their rivalry has received much attention even though Obama has spent eight years doing everything for Israel and blocking Palestinian aspirations.
Compare Obama to his predecessor George W. Bush. Bush abstained on six pro-Palestinian resolutions and just before leaving office failed to veto a resolution demanding Israel to end its military assault on the Gaza Strip.
Despite the emotional histrionics of pro-Israel fanatics like the Zionist Organization of America, many members of the U.S. Congress and much of the American news media, the resolution was so watered down you have to wonder why anyone cares.
The irony is a reflection of a consistent hypocrisy in American politics when it comes to Israel. No one really reads the resolution. The mainstream American news media simply reports assertions and distortions spun by Israel’s sophisticated and effective multi-million dollar public relations campaign.
America’s former UN Ambassador John Bolton, for example, has asserted the resolution calls Israel’s occupation “illegitimate,” but the word is nowhere to be found in the actual resolution text.
All the resolution does is repeat past policies that even the United States has supported. You can’t occupy a land and expel the people, take their lands or create your own colonies (settlements), as Israel is doing in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.
The resolution also urges Israel to abide by legal agreements it signed as a sovereign nation and UN member, and warns that Israeli settlements undermine the chances for peace.
But, the resolution also condemns all acts of violence and terrorism by both sides, including by the Palestinians.
That America only “abstained” from supporting those fundamental principles instead of voting in favor of the resolution should be shocking to every American. Are those not the very principles that America represents as a Democracy and leader of the “Free World?”
To the American media, Israel’s defenders and the U.S. Congress, truth is irrelevant when dealing with Israel’s atrocities. I urge readers to read UN Resolution 2334 and compare it to what is being said and reported.
It doesn’t challenge Israel’s right to exist. It doesn’t deny its sovereignty in the pre-1967 borders.
Immediately after the adoption of the resolution, Netanyahu announced plans to massively increase Jewish-only settlement in occupied East Jerusalem,. Settlement expansion exposes the fundamental fact that Israel does not want peace. It wants the land.
It also serves as a reminder of the impotency of the Arab World, which has been in a political coma since the peace process began in the 1970s.
The Arab and Muslim Worlds have all condemned Israel’s violations, but have done nothing to prevent them. Instead, they have expanded political and economic relations with Israel.
In a way, the response of the Arab and Muslim Worlds reflects the bipolar policies of the Obama administration that on one hand has put a critical spotlight on Israel’s resistance to peace while at the same time strengthening Israel with billions in military aid, political support and technology.
How can you support peace and the Two-State solution when you continue to expand settlements?
The inconsistency of criticism and a lack of action have become a shield for Israel. It can do what it wants.
Netanyahu understands something the Arabs and Muslims don’t: Once Palestinians have a sovereign state, there will be no stopping Palestinian empowerment. Sovereignty of a state, not the size of a state, gives that state its international integrity.
A “Palestine” recognized by the United Nations and the world as a sovereign state is a much more powerful victim of brutality, rather than the Palestine that it is today with no recognized borders or independent government.
If Obama really wanted to make a statement, he would support a UN Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state. That would dramatically change Israel’s actions elevating them from occupation to invasion and opening them up to far more significant war crimes charges and international sanctions.
Many Palestinians view a “mini-state” as their own destruction. But no one ever said Palestinian activists were smarter than their Israeli rivals. Palestinian rejectionism has also strengthened Israel’s own extremism and made it easy for Israel to prevent a Two-State solution.
Israel and the United States have transformed the “Two State Solution” into a bipolar two-policy disintegration which allows Israel to expand without accountability and without paying price.
Regardless of how one feels, Obama will be remembered not for what he did but for what he failed to do.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American writer and columnist. Reach him at his website at TheDailyHookah.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Full text of the resolution from the UN: =================
The full text of resolution 2334 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),
“Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
“Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
“Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,
“Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,
“Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
“Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
“Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
“Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
“Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,
“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
“2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
“3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
“4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;
“5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
“6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
“7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;
“8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;
“9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;
“10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;
“11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”