Sunday, December 25, 2016

8 Reasons Why Friday's UN Resolution 2334 Is Counterproductive and Just Plain Wrong

In the aftermath of Obama's support for UN Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli, reactions have not been short in coming -- and there are cogent arguments against the resolution.

Beyond what is being said about Obama and his motives or against the United Nations itself and the way the resolution was carried out, the fact remains there are reasons why the UN resolution may have many results -- but none of the ones it claims to support.

Here are some of those arguments being made:

Israeli Settlements Are Not What Is Preventing Peace

UN Resolution 2334 focuses on Israeli settlements. As I've mentioned before on this blog, Obama sabotaged Middle East peace talks early on by letting Abbas know that the President of the United States would unilaterally pressure Israel on the settlements. So its not surprising that in 2014, Abbas Sabotaged American-Sponsored Peace Talks just as Abbas rejected discussing Olmert's offer in 2008.

Now, in its editorial following passage of the resolution, The Washington Post was explicit on this point when it came out with an editorial that The Obama Administration Fires a Dangerous Parting Shot. The Washington Post is no fan of Israeli settlements, but points out that
Nevertheless, settlements do not explain the administration’s repeated failures to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas proved unwilling to negotiate seriously even during the settlement freeze, and it refused to accept a framework for negotiations painstakingly drawn up by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in 2014. In past negotiations, both sides have acknowledged that any deal will involve the annexation by Israel of settlements near its borders, where most of the current construction takes place — something the U.N. resolution, which was pressed by the Palestinians, did not acknowledge or take into account.
The UN sole fixation on Israeli settlements merely picks up where Obama's failed foreign policy leaves off

Peace -- Abbas-style, 2013-2014. Credit: The Israel Project

The UN Resolution Removes Any Reason for Abbas to Negotiate

David Gerstman, writing for The Israel Project's The Tower, explains how Anti-Israel UN Resolution Would Undermine Peace Talks
If the resolution passes, it will signal that the international community has abandoned one of the most important underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: the idea that peace can only come through direct negotiations.

...Passage of the Security Council resolution will mean that the United Nations has rewarded Mahmoud Abbas, the increasingly authoritarian president of the Palestinian Authority, for his refusal to negotiate with Israel and his internationalization of the conflict. Abbas admitted that his plan was to expand legal warfare against Israel in a 2011 New York Times op-ed. “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one,” he explained. “It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”
Abbas knows which way the wind is blowing. Credit: Jewish Business News

The UN Has Proven Itself To Not Be An Honest Broker

Prior to the resolution, Senator Charles Schumer noted that the UN was unfit to discuss peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs:
“Whatever one’s views are on settlements, anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region knows that the UN, with its one-sidedness, is exactly the wrong forum to bring about peace,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

“I have spoken directly to the Administration numerous times … and in the strongest terms possible urged them to veto this resolution. I am strongly opposed to the UN putting pressure on Israel through one-sided resolutions. An abstention is not good enough. The Administration must veto this resolution,” the statement said.

Unilateral Demands That Leave Palestinians Out of the Equation Cannot Bring Peace

AIPAC came out against the resolution, but was not opposed to the supposed goal -- just the means:
By adopting this resolution, the United Nations has once again served as an open forum to isolate and delegitimize Israel—America’s lone stable, democratic ally in the Middle East. The Palestinian leadership has refused to return to talks with Israel and has continued to incite violence. Today’s destructive UNSC resolution only rewards this negative strategy and undermines efforts to truly pursue a lasting peace.

The best way to further the peace process with the goal of a two-state solution—which we support—would have been for the international community to do everything in its power to persuade the Palestinians to return to direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions with Israel. Unfortunately, the UNSC today irresponsibly adopted a ruinous resolution that can only make the goal of peace even more elusive. [emphasis added]

The UN Resolution Singles Out Israel With Demands That Cannot Be Met

The Israeli government of course is opposed to the resolution. Opposition leader Yair Lapid noted that the UN resolution that denied Israel its indigenous connection to the land:
Lapid added that there was “no coalition or opposition” in the Israeli government when it came to this issue, as the entire political establishment holds similar views. He noted that the resolution condemns Israeli activity in eastern Jerusalem, where the Western Wall and Temple Mount are located, and “there is no Israeli government, ever, that can accept that.”

The UN Resolution Ignores Israel's Legal Claim to Both Gaza and the West Bank

Richard L. Cravatts, past president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) writes about
Defective law and moral incoherence in the UN Security Council vote on the Israel settlements
More to the point, it is erroneous to overlook the fact that not only all of the land that is current­-day Israel, but also Gaza and the West Bank, is part of the land granted to the Jews as part of the League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which recognized the right of the Jewish people to “close settlement” in a portion of those territories gained after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. According to Eugene V. Rostow [in Legality of the Israeli Settlements], the late legal scholar and one of the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 written after the 1967 war to outline peace negotiations, “the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors,” something which Israel’s intransigent Arab neighbors have never seemed prepared to do.

Moreover, Rostow contended, “The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created,” and “the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.” The Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel recaptured Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, resulted in Israel being cast in another perfidious role—in addition to colonial usurper of Arab land, the Jewish state became a brutal “occupier” of Arab Palestine, lands to which the Jews presumably had no right and now occupied, in the opinion of many in the international community, illegally. But that “unhelpful” view again presumes that parts of the territory that may someday comprise a Palestinian state is already Palestinian land, that the borders of the putative Palestinian state are precise and agreed to, and that Jews living anywhere on those lands are now violating international law.

When did the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem become Palestinian land? The answer is: never.

The UN Resolution Fails to Address Israeli Security Concerns

Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration and Michael Singh, managing director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy write that by ignoring Israeli concerns, The United States Just Made Middle East Peace Harder:
Yet the resolution is conspicuously silent on Israeli concerns. There is no call for other states to recognize Israel’s existence — much less its status as a Jewish state — and end the conflict against it. On incitement and terrorism, it strikes a false balance by calling on “both parties” to refrain from them, despite the fact that Israel prosecutes its citizens who resort to terrorism while the Palestinian Authority lionizes them.

The UN Resolution Plays to Its One Strength: Encouraging Antisemitism

Writer Phyllis Chesler notes that Resolution 2334 amounts to nothing more than another UN resolution that encourages Antisemitism:
The UN has been unable to stop--or to effectively prosecute--a single atrocity, including genocide, that member nations have committed since the UN came into being. It has never even attempted to punish those who practice gender and religious apartheid. The most barbaric Muslim-on-Muslim violence and Muslim-on-infidel violence has never been addressed by the United Nations.

Indeed, as I have written many times, the UN has been effective in only one thing: Legitimizing and legalizing Jew-hatred in the world.
"Keep a Close Eye on Them" Cartoon by Patrick Mellemans, The Israeli Cartoon Project

The issue of UN Resolution 2334 is not about Obama's revenge against Netanyahu or the failures of his foreign policy. The point is that when examinging the UN resolution on its own merits, the resolution itself does far more harm than good. UN Resolution 2334 puts the peace that it claims it is designed to achieve that much further out of reach.
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