Last week many of us ink-stained wretches proclaimed Obama’s abstention in the vote on the December 23 anti-Israel UN resolution his last betrayal of our only real ally in the Middle East. We were wrong. Obama isn’t done yet.
Obama is going to use his last three weeks in office to damage Israel in at least one more UN Security Council resolution.
Obama believes that he has accomplished great things through his diplomacy and exercise of our military power. His list includes his nuclear weapons deal with Iran, his military intervention in Libya, the near-emptying of the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and much more. The fact that the world is almost literally on fire — from the South China Sea to Iraq and Afghanistan, from North Korea to the streets of Europe where terrorists run free — doesn’t diminish his belief that he has succeeded almost everywhere.
Everywhere, that is, except in dictating peace terms in the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors. That conflict began almost as soon as Islam became a religion. It began when Mohammed wrote in the Koran his vision that he had ascended to heaven from the site of the ruined Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The mosques on what is now the Temple Mount were literally built on the ruins of the Jewish Second Temple as symbols of permanent conquest. It is the holiest site in Judaism and had been for about three thousand years before Islam was established.
The Israeli-Palestinian war is one in which the Palestinians (of which there were none before Israel was declared a nation in 1947) are merely a weapon used by others. Making peace with the Palestinians won’t make peace with the Sunni nations surrounding Israel that use the Palestinians as a tool against Israel or with the Shiite nation of Iran.
Leaders of the Sunni nations learned from the efforts of Anwar Sadat, who signed a peace agreement with Israel and was subsequently assassinated by Islamic terrorists, that peace with Israel is a religious impossibility. Iran has so often proclaimed that it will wipe Israel off the map that it has become a mantra of its kakistocracy.
Those nations — and their Palestinian surrogates — have for almost seven decades made it impossible for Israel to be what the UN created it to be: a Jewish homeland. When Israel was established by a series of UN resolutions, it was established as a Jewish state and other areas around Israel were established as an Arab zone, which became the “Palestinian” territories.
Obama and many European leaders believe that a peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the only way to drive peace in the Middle East. In furtherance of that comprehensively mistaken belief, they will convene a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on January 15 without Israeli representation. The purpose of the meeting will be to craft another UN resolution to be offered and passed before Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20. Obama and Kerry are heavily engaged in formulating the resolution to be passed in Paris and then in the UN Security Council.
We know from Obama’s consistent position pretty much what the Paris resolution will be. It will proclaim that Israel exists only within the borders it had before the 1967 war. In the Obama/Kerry peace talks, over eighteen months ending in 2014, Kerry pursued those negotiations with a messianic fervor. He was eager to stamp out heresy, which he and Obama defined as any opposition to their position. Those negotiations marked the worst break we’d had with Israel in memory. Now, they’re planning to go much further.
The first step was the UN Security Council resolution passed two Fridays ago. It proclaimed that all Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank were illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. It had the effect of legitimizing Palestinian claims and abandoning the “land-for-peace” basis for negotiations that we have supported since 1967 that was stated in UN Resolution 242 and passed that year.
Not only did the December 23 resolution label Israel an international outlaw, by implication it also created what the Palestinians have forever sought: moral equivalence with Israel.
The Palestinian government, and its terrorist partners such as Hamas, chose terrorism as their preferred weapon against Israel. Visiting Israel in 2003, I interviewed Ziad abu Ziad, a lawyer and journalist who had been Palestinian Minister of State and was then a senior advisor to the Palestinian Authority, meaning Yasir Arafat.
Ziad insisted on calling terrorists “activists.” He blamed Israel for the failure of the Oslo Accords, and said that both sides are only in a competition to see who can hurt the other more. Ziad bragged that in trying to implement the Oslo Accords, the PA had stopped terrorist attacks from 1996 to 2000.
Which raised an obvious question. I asked Ziad, if Palestinians stopped terrorist attacks then, why didn’t they do so now? Ziad was perfectly fluent in English. He understood the premise of the question and didn’t disagree with it. Instead, he answered, “because we did from ’96 to 2000, and got nothing for it.” Ziad agreed that the PA could then have stopped terrorism whenever it chose. But it chose instead to blow up buses of children.
By choosing to commit terrorism, the Palestinians forever gave up the possibility of achieving moral equivalency with the Israelis. Obama’s abstention on the December UN resolution gave it to them.
Now comes the January 15 Paris conference and the resolution resulting from it. Its product is foreseeable from Kerry’s recent speech. He said that the Israeli settlements are dangerous because they threaten the possibility of a “two-state solution.”
The Paris resolution will go at least one enormous step further than the December UN resolution, one that Israel’s enemies have wanted to go but America had always — until Obama — stopped them.
The Paris resolution will either demand Israel recognize a Palestinian state with borders conforming to the pre-1967 war borders or will do so on behalf of the nations in attendance. It may set a deadline for Israel to do so.
The Paris agreement may go even farther. It could state that if Israel doesn’t agree to recognize that form of a two-state solution by the deadline, international sanctions will be used to compel Israeli compliance with the measure. Such sanctions could threaten Israel’s economy and its military.
If the Paris resolution contains any of those decisions — and it will contain at least some — Trump will tweet against it and demand that the UN reject it. He tried that tactic on the December 23 UN resolution to no effect. He’ll have no better luck this time.
Trump is reportedly trying to get Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to attend his inauguration. Let’s hope he succeeds. The best thing Trump could do would be to directly address Netanyahu in his inauguration speech, telling him that the Paris resolution and whatever the UN does with it are contrary to U.S. policy and that we reject whatever terms the Paris group and the UN demand.
On January 20, Trump won’t be able to do more and shouldn’t do less. But beginning on January 21, he can — diplomatically and otherwise — face down Israel’s enemies. He should, for one simple reason: they are our enemies as well.