Obama's goodbye 'gift'
Over the years, we have learned not to pay attention to what President Obama says, but instead to what he actually does. His recent foreign policy decision to have the U.S. abstain on the recently passed resolution by the Security Council condemning Israel's continued building of settlements in the West Bank is a classic example. This is a devastating and demeaning blow to our only real ally in the Middle East.
Prior to the election, Obama had conferred with Alan Dershowitz, a staunch liberal, and promised that he would never act in any way that would be harmful to Israel. This resolution is not really about the settlements, but what amounts to a land grab, as it places the border of Israel back to the 1967 lines and calls the area in question to be illegally occupied Palestinian territory.
The wording of the resolution boldly claims that settlements in this territory, built since 1967 and including East Jerusalem, have no legal standing and constitute a violation under international law. Bear in mind this land helps to provide the nation of Israel with a buffer against attacks by Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO. It is difficult to understand why the Security Council places no responsibility on terrorist attacks by any of these groups.
Currently, approximately 600,000 Jews and fewer than 100,000 Arabs live in this area. East Jerusalem also contains the Jewish Temple Mount and the Western Wall (sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall), as well as the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The Jewish community regards this area as exceptionally important from a religious standpoint. For the Muslim community to experience a similar situation would be to insist that Saudi Arabia not maintain authority over Mecca.
The relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has always been frosty, at best. Many believe that this recent action of Obama's, or the lack thereof, was a backhanded hit to Netanyahu, as well as a jab at President-elect Donald Trump. This viewpoint was further supported by Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech when he plainly stated that Israel can either become a Jewish state or a democracy, but not both. This type of reference could not be made without the permission of the president.
The problem for Trump’s administration is that once a Security Council resolution is in effect, it is difficult to change because of the needed approval of either the Russians or the Chinese. Israel charges emphatically that not only did the U S abstain on this resolution, but also, behind the scenes, the administration actually led and helped write the text. Only time will tell if this allegation is true.
Regardless of the validity of the claim, the new administration will have only one choice to resolve this issue, and that would be for Congress to pass legislation and the president to sign a bill seriously reducing or even possibly eliminating our funding of the United Nations. This would emphatically pressure the Security Council to prepare a new resolution to amend the one passed.
Currently, our support of the U.N., which often works against both our interests and those of Israel, supplies 22 percent of its funding. I fully expect some type of legislation of this nature to be presented in Congress, as both Democrats and Republicans strongly disapprove of Obama’s parting “gift.”