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UN Israel Resolution Reflects Foreign Policy Crisis

Image: UN Israel Resolution Reflects Foreign Policy Crisis

West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. (Ariel Schalit/AP) 

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Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 11:24 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The recent resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemning Israel over settlements represents another foreign policy blow for the United States.

What is the meaning of this security council resolution for Israel and the settlements?

Let's start with the basics. The resolution fails to distinguish between "settlements blocs" and settlements in areas where a Palestinian state is supposed to be created.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush accepted construction in a set of Jewish settlements next to the 1967 border as long as the scope of settlements do not expand well into the West Bank.

However, the UNSC resolution, supported and initiated by President Obama, defines settlements as every piece of territory that was taken by Israel in the war of June, 1967.

This includes the Western Wall (the holiest site in Judaism) neighborhoods that have been in existence for decades and had no previous Arab presence — and even the Golan Heights.

The latter — having nothing to do with the future of a Palestinian state — was taken from Syria during the June 1967 war, and was used by the Syrians before that date to bomb Israeli civilian targets.

At the present time, if Israel withdraws from the Golan, the territory is likely to fall in the hands of the Iran-backed murderous Bashar Al Assad, or worse, in the hands of the radical Islamist group Al Nusra — now controlling Syrian territory next to the Golan.

On the other hand, the resolution demands nothing from the Palestinians.

In the past, peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians failed not because of settlements but because the Palestinian leadership refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state by requiring the so-called "right of return" of three million Palestinians to Israel proper. That proposal is not a formula for peace but a formula for the continuation of war.

Very much in contrast to the Palestinians, Israel offered solutions in the past by offering generous concessions that included withdrawal from most of the West Bank, the creation of a Palestinian state, and agreement to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians. Israel also unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and dismantled the Jewish settlements in the area.

Moreover, this unbalanced resolution failed to include the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and abandon the so-called "right of return."

After Egypt backed off from introducing the resolution at the request of the U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden proceeded to recruit other sponsors. He called the Ukraine first, a country that still has serious problems recognizing its population’s collaboration with the anti-Semitic Nazi murderous machine.

The other three were New Zealand, Malaysia, and Venezuela. Malaysia is a country that has refused to recognize Israel to this very day. Venezuela has adopted an open anti-American ideology, has cooperated with Iran and Hezbollah and its political and military elite, and is heavily involved in drug trafficking.

Moreover, Venezuela massively violates human rights, while leaving its people to starve. 

What kind of message is the United States sending to its enemies when it makes alliances against its own ally?

France has supported this type of resolution for a long time. France’s Mideast foreign policy is mainly motivated by the desire to diminish the status and influence of the U.S, while increasing its own.

As France faces serious terrorist attacks on their own soil, such an attitude is self-defeating. They voted against the country that is at the forefront of the fight against the kind of terrorism.

This is our problem as well. If our western allies are not strong enough, we will collapse and be hung with them.

The Russians and the Chinese mostly provide political backing to their allies such as Syria, Iran, or even North Korea. We don’t.

What is needed now is strong American leadership, providing a sense of common purpose to the West as a whole. The U.S. needs to set the tone as well, while taking the initiative by engaging in leadership in the West — in order to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas while reducing the power of rogue states like Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela.

Such leadership needs to be expanded to other countries in the Western Hemisphere with significant potential, like Brazil and Argentina.

The anti-Israel UNSC resolution is a problem that transcends Israel.

The challenge ahead for President-elect Donald Trump is huge, but the opportunity to effect significant change is there too.

Luis Fleischman has worked as adviser for the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy on issues related to Latin America. He is the author of "Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Threat to U.S. Security." Fleischman is an adjunct professor of sociology and political science at Florida Atlantic University Honors College and FAU Lifelong Learning Society. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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LuisFleischman
The anti-Israel UNSC resolution is a problem that transcends Israel. The challenge ahead for President-elect Donald Trump is huge, but the opportunity to effect significant change is there also.
resolution, unsc
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2016-24-27
Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 11:24 AM
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