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. Iâ€™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: â€œThe 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,â€™ read a statement by the missionâ€™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:
â€œNothing is happening outside,â€ said Maged A. Abdelaziz…â€œThe statements given by the secretary of state and the American administration are that â€˜We are against settlements and we are not going to do anything about it and we donâ€™t want you to do anything about it. We will let the Israelis do what they want.â€™ â€
Ultimately, he said, â€œWe will wake up one day to find that the two-state solution has become a dream that is unachievable.â€
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.