US abstention on UN settlement vote harms relationship with Israel, UN

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By Mitzpeh Staff
@Mitzpeh

(Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)

(Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)

 

When the Obama administration declined to vote on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, it may have not only entrenched settlements as a policy of the Israeli government, but also harmed the United States’ relationship with the U.N. for the next four years.

The resolution, among other things, called for a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, affirming the boundaries of the future state of Palestine, lamented Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and urged for a diplomatic solution to end the conflict as soon as possible.

Obama may have felt he had nothing to lose, considering the upcoming Trump administration was only a month away. And in a certain sense he is correct; the U.S. relationship will probably recover as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump has nominated bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, who according to the New York Times is not a staunch supporter of the two-state solution and does not think Israeli annexation of the West Bank is illegal.

Trump tweeted out “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but…….not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

Israel is pressing ahead with the construction of new homes in a heavily Palestinian section East Jerusalem, which will make an already complicated peace process even harder. They will probably have the green light to do this under a Trump administration, but now Israel’s detractors will have more ammunition in the world stage, including taking Israel to the International Criminal Court and giving Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) activists more enthusiasm.

The abstention may also be giving more fuel to critics of the U.N. Sen. Ted Cruz threatened to not fund the U.N. until the measure is reversed, and Trump himself is not a big fan of the organization.

We believe that the Obama administration is wrong to inflame tensions when the incoming administration  appears willing to risk stable relationships with the countries of the world. The consequences of the resolution will still affect Israel, even though the Trump administration is soon coming into power. The U.N. resolution will only further isolate Israel from the world and lead Israel to be less trusting of international organizations. Aside from its controversies with Israel, the U.N. has been a force for good, and we hope Trump and other Republicans will not hold the U.N. hostage over one issue.

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