Votes have consequences. President Obama directed the U.S. to abstain on a vote by the UN Security Council in December 2016 – just before leaving office – called Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel for its settlements In occupied territories. In previous votes on this matter, the U.S. vetoed said condemnation.
This abstention in effect branded Israel as a violator of international law at the expense of the Arab population living within its borders since the Israeli victories of 1967 and 1973 (the Yom Kippur war). The enemies of Israel have never tired of stating that Israeli Jewish settlements in occupied territories, especially in the south of Judea and Samaria, were expanding too rapidly in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Judea and Samaria were the original names of the land areas of present-day Israel – names that were abolished by the Romans in 70 AD. The Romans re-named the land area Palestine. That is why the residents of that area, prior to the recognition by the United Nations of Israeli statehood, were called Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs.
Many uninformed persons today do not realize that the United Nations also authorized the creation of a state for the Palestinian Arabs at the same time the State of Israel was authorized, but the Palestinian Arabs, coached by the neighboring Arab countries, turned down the offer. Instead, the Arabs in the region, intent on destroying the new Jewish state and annihilating all the “Palestinian Jews” (now properly called Israelis), called upon all Arab residents of the newly formed state of Israel to flee so they could wipe out all of Israel. After the intended “wipe out,” those who fled could return to the homes and property they had left – as well as take over all the property of the Jews.
It was an all-or-nothing plan, and they ended up with nothing. The fledgling state of Israel that was completely outmatched in terms of equipment nevertheless won the war in 1948, and the Arabs who had fled from Israel now found themselves living in camps and unable to occupy the homes they had left in Israel (“Eretz Yisrael”). Some observers, like this writer, believe that not only was that victory a David vs. Goliath-type of event, but that it was the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Ezekiel Chapter 37 – wherein the prophet is taken to the Valley of Dry Bones and the bones are resurrected by the power of Almighty God, thus ushering in the soon-to-be return of Christ.
Some commentators, in particular Shalom Lipner, saw Obama’s abstention on the vote condemning Israel as more of a personal confrontation between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Further, like so many elitist commentators, he expressed his understanding in opaque, highly educated language. He wrote:
Lacking critical texture, the resolution paints the entire parcel in question with the same truth, effectively equating the most isolated of Israeli settlements – which Israel would surely dismantle in the even of a bona fide peace agreement….
He is thereby disagreeing with the resolution but sees it as a finesse to favor Obama’s perspective over that of Netanyahu. Yet the florid language obscures the reality that Israel was betrayed.
However, although Obama was president, there was considerable backlash against his decision to abstain. Obama found himself opposed by Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Cory Gardner, President-elect Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, and even Democrat Senator Charles Schumer. Obama’s decision was not only pro-Islamic, it also represented a twisted interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which was supposed to be the reason for the abstention.
The Fourth Geneva Convention has an entire section about the legal treatment of occupied territories going from Article 47 to Article 78. These articles cover such topics as children, repatriation, and hygiene in occupied territories. Section 47 is the one section that may seem to apply to the Israeli occupation per se. It states,
Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory….
Reviewing the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention, this writer concludes that the meaning inferred by Obama was that the increase of settlements by Israelis in lands acquired in earlier wars with Arab states deprive local Arabs in those territories “of the benefits…by any change introduced as a result of the occupation….”
To me, this is an extreme and hostile view of the Israeli settlements in lands taken during wars. Arabs in those lands are in no way oppressed by the presence of Jewish Israelis in expanded numbers in neighboring acreage. Thus, Israel is right in conceiving of this interpretation of Section 47 of the Convention as illegitimate, and it is clear that Obama sacrificed truth for the sake of the Islamic false claims. The Arabs simply did not want to live near increasing numbers of Jews. No international law was breached.
By failing to veto the false claim of the terrorist world that surrounds Israel, Obama opened the door to a fundamentally false understanding of the Israeli settlements in lands taken during the horrible wars that beset that wonderful country. This was an encouragement to Hamas and to all those bitter murderers who deny the right of Israel to exist as a country. The Arab bias is driven by an irrational sense of Islamic hegemony as being valid in any lands they had conquered at one time.
Whatever President Obama may or may not have thought, Israel is not in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Horrible murders of the residents of Jewish settlements and towns in no way validate the Obama agreement. It is a bloodthirsty and primitive reaction that must be smashed.