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Aleppo is crumbling, Libya is in ruins, Russia is threatening its neighbors, and China is militarizing the South China Sea. But the UN is taking action against Israel. And Obama let them:
The U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding Israel cease Jewish settlement activity on Palestinian territory in a unanimous vote that passed when the United States abstained rather than using its veto as it has reliably done in the past.
The resolution declares settlements constructed on land Israel has occupied since the 1967 war, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity.” It said settlements threaten the viability of the two-state solution, and it urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations that lead to two independent nations.
The United States’ abstention Friday was a rare (“rare?” – ed.) rebuke to Israel, and reflected mounting frustration in the Obama administration over settlement growth that the United States considers an obstacle to peace. With President Obama’s time in office due to end in barely a month, his decision not to veto was a symbolic statement of that displeasure.
Earlier this week, Donald Trump called on the current administration to oppose the anti-Israel resolution, as did senators of both parties. The most impactful response came from Sen. Lindsey Graham who threatened financial support for Israel’s enemies around the world and the UN itself:
This provocative action by the United Nations is an outrage and must be dealt with sternly and forcefully. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I oversee the United States assistance to the United Nations.
The United States is currently responsible for approximately 22 percent of the United Nations total budget. If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.
In addition, any nation which backs this resolution and receives assistance from the United States will put that assistance in jeopardy.
There is a reason the United States has long opposed these type efforts directed at Israel — the only way to achieve a lasting peace by the parties negotiating directly and not using the United Nations as a blunt instrument against Israel. This was President Obama’s position in 2011 and it should be his position today.
Needless to say, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not amused:
Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms. At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall “occupied territory.” The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes. Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.