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Now that the Security Council resolution failed to pass because of the U.S. veto, will the Palestinians and Arab countries call Rice’s bluff and press to go ahead with the 3-part alternative proposal? It looks like the answer could well be yes. When Inner City Press asked Palestinian Permanent Observer Mansour at the press stakeout if the Security Council trip to the Middle East proposed by Russia and initially endorsed by the United States was still a good idea, he answered yes. But it seems that the U.S. may now be backing away from the trip idea. As transcribed by Inner City Press, Rice said during her conference call with reporters after the veto that “the proposal of the trip to the region seems even more complicated today than it was yesterday and I think its viability is quite questionable at this point.”
One such complication may be the realization that the trip would most likely entail awkward meetings with representatives of two terrorist organizations in the region that control Gaza and Lebanon – Hamas and Hezbollah respectively.
When Lebanon’s UN Ambassador was asked by reporters, after the vote on the anti-Israel Security Council resolution his country had introduced, to comment on the increasing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, he refused to answer. He said that the question had nothing to do with why the Security Council was meeting to condemn Israel on this particular day.
In other words, although Lebanon took the lead at the Security Council in accusing Israel of building settlements in violation of international law, it was ducking accountability for enabling the terrorist group Hezbollah to unlawfully rearm itself with rockets aimed at Israel’s civilian population in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that had ended the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. What’s more, speaking in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah just recently threatened to take over northern Israel in case of war with the Jewish state.
The Obama administration did the right thing in vetoing the latest one-sided Security Council resolution against Israel. But it quickly muddled this decision by lending full rhetorical support to the intentions of the resolution’s sponsors – to isolate Israel further in the international community by declaring all of its settlements to be illegitimate and the cause of the breakdown in negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. The truth is that Israeli settlements are but one of a number of issues that must be resolved before there can be a truly lasting, peaceful settlement. Israel’s 30 year peace treaty with Egypt (now itself in jeopardy) proves the risks that Israel is willing to take to secure real peace.
Moreover, there were no Israeli settlements or security fences in the West Bank for twenty years after the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab nations rejected the original two-state solution under the United Nations’ partition plan. An independent Palestinian state could have been created in those twenty years, but it was the Palestinians themselves and their patrons in the Arab world who failed to seize the opportunity. Since Israel took over the West Bank following its victory in the 1967 Six-Day War when Jordan decided to join the attack on Israel despite being warned that it would lose the West Bank territory if it did so, Israel has continued to take risks for peace.
The Obama administration refuses to acknowledge the fact that Israel has already made painful sacrifices for peace with the Palestinians, including unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, even though it has led to greater violence from Islamic terrorists north and south of its borders and within Israel itself.
Even more fundamentally, this administration turns a blind eye to the reality that Israelis face every day of their lives – powerful forces surrounding them that do not accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. It is time to stop engaging in the dangerous game of blaming Israel for not reaching a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians and come down firmly on the side of the one country in the Middle East that truly shares our Western democratic values.