Final, Most Shameful, Legacy Moment
December 29, 2016
“When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”
conference, March 4, 2012
The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately
pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded
wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to
go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the
measure of Israel’s back and slid
a knife into it.
People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel
by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning
Israel over settlements. The
administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of
long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.
Nonsense. For the past 35 years, every administration,
including a reelection-seeking Obama
himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a
Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter,
anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis.
Israel, we’re right back where Obama started]
An ordinary Israeli who lives or works in the Old City of
Jerusalem becomes an international pariah, a potential outlaw. To say nothing of
the soldiers of Israel’s citizen army. “Every pilot and every officer and
every soldier,” said
a confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, “we are waiting for
him at The Hague,” i.e. the International
Moreover, the resolution undermines the very foundation of
a half-century of American Middle East policy. What becomes of “land for
peace” if the territories that Israel was to have traded for peace are, in
advance, declared to be Palestinian land to which Israel has no claim?
parameters enunciated so ostentatiously by Secretary of State John
Kerry on Wednesday are nearly identical to the Clinton parameters that Yasser
Arafat was offered and rejected in 2000 and
that Abbas was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas,
too, walked away.
Kerry mentioned none of this because it undermines his
blame-Israel narrative. Yet Palestinian rejectionism works. The Security Council
just declared the territories legally Palestinian — without the Palestinians
having to concede anything, let alone peace. What incentive do the Palestinians
have to negotiate when they can get the terms — and territory — they seek
handed to them for free if they hold out long enough?
administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the
resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that
the ostensible sponsors — New Zealand, Senegal,
Malaysia and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let
alone food — had for months been sweating the details of Jewish
housing in East Jerusalem.
Nothing new here, protests deputy national security adviser Ben
Rhodes: “When we see the facts on the ground, again, deep into the West
Bank beyond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak up against those
This is a deception. Everyone knows that remote outposts
are not the issue. Under any peace, they will be swept away. Even right-wing
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in one of these West Bank
stated publicly that “I even agree to vacate my settlement if there
really will be a two-state solution.” Where’s the obstacle to peace?
A second category of settlement is the close-in blocs that
border 1967 Israel. Here, too, we know in advance how these will be disposed of:
They’ll become Israeli territory and, in exchange, Israel will swap over some
of its land to a Palestinian state. Where’s the obstacle to peace here?
It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the
most contentious and that Security Council Resolution 2334 explicitly
condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd.
America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the
Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the
entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine.
The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism.
That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security
Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim.
Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.
At the very least, Obama should have insisted that any
reference to East Jerusalem be dropped from the resolution or face a U.S. veto.
Why did he not? It’s incomprehensible — except as a parting shot of personal
revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu. Or perhaps as a revelation of a deep-seated
antipathy to Israel that simply awaited a safe political interval for public
Another legacy moment for Barack Obama. And his most