Literally weeks prior to Obama’s departure from the Oval office, his Administration makes a series of moves that light a diplomatic fire to Israel on his way out the door.
Last week, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 passed, condemning all settlement activity on what the resolution referred to as "occupied territory" in Israel, asserting that such activity is a “flagrant violation of international law.” The Obama Administration abstained from the vote, parting from a long historical precedent of the U.S. opposing anti-Israel resolutions. America’s refusal to protect Israel through its veto power, paved the way for an anti-settlement resolution to pass for the first time in decades.
This resolution has all kinds of ramifications including but not limited to the following: 1) the territory in Judea and Samaria can now be referred to as "occupied territory" rather than its proper legal status which is “territory of undetermined permanent status”; 2) it can potentially lead to Israel being called to the International Criminal Court and prosecuted for settlement building; 3) Israel can potentially now be sanctioned for its settlement activity; 4) it sets the stage for rampant boycotts against Israel by the UN and 5) makes it acceptable for EU countries to mark on their products where the products were made so people can boycott companies in the West bank. 6) Most importantly, this resolution takes off the negotiating table, the possible transfer of land for peace in potential discussions between the so-called "Palestinians" and the Israelis. Instead, it pressures the Israelis to capitulate to Palestinian demands while getting nothing in return. It leaves no incentive for the Palestinians to put a halt to their terrorist activity or for Hamas leadership to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
In keeping with the spirit of former agreements, the UN should refrain from trying to create a state of Palestine absent face to face negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Though UNSCR 2334 focuses on condemnation of Israel, it is the Palestinians, and not the Israelis who refuse to engage in bilateral discussions and instead are trying to make an end run around face to face negotiations.
In recent days, UK officials claim credit (or blame, depending on one’s viewpoint), for negotiating the language of the resolution and influencing its passage, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer assert that they have indisputable evidence that it was the U.S. who worked behind the scenes directly with the Palestinians to orchestrate this diplomatic attack on Israel. Either way, the U.S. cannot claim to be merely a disinterested observer, given its power on the UN Security Council, and in light of Secretary Kerry’s staunch criticism of Israel, delivered in his speech following passage of the resolution.
I hope all the "pro-Israel" Democrats, especially if Jewish, are happy that they voted for Obama based on delusional claims by the New York Times and the MSM that Obama was “pro-Israel”. The rest of us knew that Obama was not a friend of Israel’s from the onset. He is in fact, the most anti-Israel president we've had since Jimmy Carter, with exactly the mindset that should be expected from someone who was schooled in Kenyan Madrassas and whose half-brother is a leadership member of the Islamic Da’wa organization in Sudan, a radical pro-Sharia organization in Africa.
On the same day that UNSC Resolution 2334 passed, the UN got busy to work creating a blacklist of companies that do business with any Jews in Judea, Samaria as well as East Jerusalem. And though the Obama Administration opposed the creation of this list, once the list was a fait de complete, the Obama Administration voted for the resolution that passed the proposed budget in the UN General Assembly which included funding to maintain a data base of the blacklisted companies. There is also a small budget for a staffer to maintain the data base.
Subsequent to passage of UNSCR 2234, State Secretary Kerry made a speech condemning Israel and defending the U.S.’ official position. But the damage isn’t done yet. On January 15, 2017, there will be an international gathering of 70 countries, supposedly to discuss the way forward to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Though the conference is called the “Paris Peace Conference”, ironically, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will be present. It’s unclear whether Kerry will be in attendance personally, but the U.S. will undoubtedly have official representation.
Three “working groups” within the conference will be addressing issues that are purportedly designed to enable the international community to take actions that will induce the relevant parties toward a peace plan down the road. Each country can determine which group it wants to join. The three working areas are: 1) civil society and institution building (which focuses on perceptions on the ground of both sides and the facilitation of dialogue) 2) capacity building (which Palestinians have suggested should constitute recommendations for “border crossing and infrastructure” and 3) economic aid which is going to be directed to Palestinians.
Statements by Netanyahu and other pro-Israel proponents express anxiety that the results of the conference will lead to more harm to Israel. Subsequent to the conference, many fear that the Middle East Quartet which includes the U.S., Russia, the UN and the EU will draft another UN resolution for the US Security Council, which will lock in the proposals suggested at the Paris conference. There is great concern that if this happens, the outcome will be detrimental to the State of Israel and difficult for the next Administration to undo. Security Council resolutions, unlike General Assembly resolutions are legally binding and therefore potentially have more dire ramifications.
It can be no coincidence that all of this is occurring just days prior to the commencement of the incoming Trump Administration. Obama himself waited until the last weeks of his presidency to reveal his true anti-Israel colors. He needed to wait until after he was re-elected, his two terms were almost complete and the next presidential election was over so his faux pro-Israel stance was no longer necessary. Expressing his true anti-Israel sentiments earlier simply wouldn’t have been expedient or politically feasible. Though the Obama Administration claims that its position on UNSC Resolution 2334 was consistent with prior Democrat and Republican positions in the past, apparently Congress disagrees, and is working on a bi-partisan congressional resolution condemning the UNSC resolution’s passage.
Obama is wrecking the house on his way out of office. He no longer needs his pro-Israel political chips. During the last days of his presidency, he is proving to do a lot of damage to Israel (and other foreign policy fronts) and there’s still time for him to do more. In my view, he is sticking it to Israel for two reasons: first, the views expressed now are what he always believed and he no longer has to hide it. His true colors are coming out. Second, he is doing everything he can on foreign policy matters to make things as difficult as possible for Trump when he becomes President.
Despite all this, it is worth noting that Trump --- you know, the guy the Left is calling Hitler, is the only one standing up for Israel, and indeed portends to be one of the most pro-Israel presidents that the US has ever seen.