American foreign policy Americans for Peace Now Hillary Clinton Israel Israeli occupation Israeli settlements J Street United Nations

Give me just 1 good reason to oppose UN anti-settlement resolution

I have yet to hear one good reason why the U.S. should veto a new UN Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlements, or why it should try to keep the resolution from coming up for a vote. Oh there have been protests from the usual suspects who support the settlers or object to any and all criticism of Israel, but they don’t count. I’ve been waiting patiently to hear from those who supposedly want diplomatic progress and back a two-state solution.

But the only objection voiced by those people is that the UN is not the proper forum for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy.

Hillary Clinton told reporters last week that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved through direct peace negotiations, not by submitting resolutions to the UN Security Council,” according to Haaretz.

That echoes Israel’s party line, as presented in the New York Times: “The Israel mission to the United Nations described the resolution as an attempt to bypass direct talks. `The only road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is through direct negotiations that address the core concerns of both sides,’ read a statement by the mission’s spokeswoman, Karean Peretz.”

The problem with this argument is that the UN resolution agrees with the Israeli government and Clinton. Rather than trying to “bypass direct talks,” it unequivocally calls for them. At least that’s what the text uncovered by Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” tell us. After condemning the settlements as “illegal” and calling on the parties to continue taking confidence-building steps, the resolution:

Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, with their negotiations on the final status issues in the Middle East peace process according to its agreed terms of reference and within the timeframe specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;

5. Urges in this regard the intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

So what’s wrong with that? The U.S. is coming across like a petulant little child. “I don’t want it there,” Clinton is insisting. “I want it here!. It belongs here! ” Ask why, and the only answer is “It belongs here because it belongs here!”

Egypt’s UN ambassador put in well in the NY Times:

“Nothing is happening outside,” said Maged A. Abdelaziz…“The statements given by the secretary of state and the American administration are that ‘We are against settlements and we are not going to do anything about it and we don’t want you to do anything about it. We will let the Israelis do what they want.’ ”

Ultimately, he said, “We will wake up one day to find that the two-state solution has become a dream that is unachievable.”

If you see or hear anything that convincingly refutes him, please let me know. In the meantime, you can find good reasons to support a U.S. abstention from J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and Dahlia Scheindllin.

8 thoughts on “Give me just 1 good reason to oppose UN anti-settlement resolution

  1. Dan,
    You could go to Michael Lame’s “Rethinking the Middle East” blog, but I doubt if you’ll find his reasons convincing. They boil down to two:
    1) America is supposed to be Israel’s friend, therefore Israel should be able to expect America to support it no matter how it acts; and
    2) International law on settlements doesn’t apply to the West Bank because of its disputed status, and if it does, it is stupid.

    Michael may get upset with this paraphrase, but that is what I came away from it with.

  2. Dan, I am curious as to why you think it would help (it has no punitive sanctions attached, as I understand)? Do you think Israel is going to stop building in the settlements even if it passes?

  3. Tom, you’re right. I’m not convinced. But thanks for trying.

    YBD, of course Israel is not going to stop building settlements as a result on 1 UN resolution. Nothing, but nothing, is apparently going to stop that. I’m sure that makes you deleriously happy. But what do you think of Dahlia Scheindlin’s reasoning? I think bolstering Palestinian moderates, just once, would be a good idea, especially since their credibility has just been obliterated by the leak of the Palestine papers(but you don’t believe there is such a thing, do you?)

    I would add that it would help the U.S to show the world occasionally that it is not always in Israel’s hip pocket.

  4. The one fear that I have from the US shifting its dike-plugging presence is that the damn will burst.

    The state of the youth in the Arab world is of teasing with uprising. “Days of Rage”.

    Its a dilemma. To not be able to do the right thing because those that also support it unleash rage into the world.

    Individuals that get angry eventually calm down. Mobs that get angry keep one another rolling much longer. Political institutions that require rage to remain in power, keep it going a very long time.

  5. Richard, we are talkung about not vetoing one UN resolution. I understand your fear/worry but the U.S. would have to do something much more drastic than that to unleash the mobs…

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