“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;”
On December 23, 2016, the United States opted to abstain from a UN Security Council resolution that allowed the body to condemn all Israeli “settlements” living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines/ the Green Line as illegal. Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations addressed the council after the vote to explain her reasons.
Ms. Power began her speech by underscoring “the United States’ deep and long-standing commitment to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” But her rationale really took aim with the goal of two states, not a comprehensive peace.
The Israeli Actions
She claimed that the “United States’ long-standing position that Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967:
- undermines Israel’s security,
- harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome, and
- erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”
Each point is deeply flawed.
Israel is the tiniest and most isolated country in the Middle East and much of the world. It is only 15km across (without the West Bank) around its most densely populated areas. The capital sits on the border of the West Bank, a situation that is impossible from a security perspective, especially considering the country has been in a state of war with its neighbors for virtually the entirety of its existence. To state that enlarging its narrow borders undermines its security is obviously false.
The second comment that the settlements harm the viability of a Palestinian State is ridiculous. Annexing portions of Area C of the West Bank such as E1 and Maale Adumim would make a Palestinian State in the West Bank 15km across at a single narrow place- not for many kilometers as is the case for Israel. The argument that a Palestinian state cannot be viable if it is 15km narrow at a single point underscores that Israel should annex the entire middle of the land.
Ms. Power reserved her comment about peace – theoretically what most concerned her – for the very end. Because the connection to settlements it is nonsensical. How can Jews in a new Palestinian State undermine peace? Doesn’t peace mean getting along?
Not for the Obama administration.
Power clarified that: “One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict. One has to make a choice between settlements and separation.”
If that is indeed the US position that peace can only be achieved by completely separating the parties, ensuring that no Jews be allowed to live east of the Green Line, then it would stand to reason that the US must be promoting the notion that all Arabs be expelled from Israel. How can Israel incorporate over 1 million Arabs if separation is the key to peace?
The essence of Power’s comments is that Israel thinks about peace the wrong way. It isn’t about coexistence, trade and commerce. It’s about distinct existences. Israel is looking for normalization while the Arabs are in divorce proceedings.
The Obama administration pulled their world-view together when Power addressed the problems stemming from the actions of Palestinian Arabs:
“For Palestinian leaders, that means recognizing the obvious: that in addition to taking innocent lives – the incitement to violence, the glorification of terrorists, and the growth of violent extremism erodes prospects for peace, as this resolution makes crystal clear.“
The comment that violent extremism and the murder of innocents “erodes the prospects for peace,” is not stating the obvious; it NEGATES the obvious by destroying its very definition. Killing someone doesn’t undermine the prospects for living, it ENDS living.
- When acting-President of the Palestinian Authority names schools, squares and soccer tournaments after terrorists who killed civilians, it CONTRADICTS peace.
- When Abbas takes to the loudspeakers asking for martyrs to converge on Jerusalem, he NEGATES peace.
- When Palestinian Arabs vote the terrorist group Hamas – which has the most anti-Semitic charter in the world which calls for the complete destruction of Israel and murder of Jews – to a whopping 58% of the parliament, they DESTROY peace.
- When 93% of Palestinian Arabs are anti-Semites, they NULLIFY peace.
- When the UN Secretary General says that he supports the integration of Hamas into a Palestinian unity government, the global body UNDERMINES peace.
Power conflated the “prospects for peace” and a new Palestinian state. She essentially argued that Palestinian Arabs are only killing now to get a new state, and will stop when they get independence. Such approach willfully ignored the inconvenient fact that Hamas launched three wars from Gaza since Israel withdrew from the region.
Power recognized the threat of violence; she just felt that enough military hardware would make the inconvenient violence manageable:
“Israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure there is not a new terrorist haven next door. President Obama and this administration have shown an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security because that is what we believe in.”
While Power argued that the United States would supply enough military equipment to ensure a viable and secure Israel, even in narrow borders, she stated the armament was intended to combat “a new terrorist haven.” She seemed to have missed the point that the terrorists are not new. They are part of the established elected Palestinian government itself, and supported by the world body that just condemned Israel.
When Power opened her remarks at the UNSC discussing a “comprehensive and lasting peace,” she was only addressing the Israelis. Only the Israelis are seeking peace; the Palestinian Arabs are seeking a state.
The notion that Palestinian Arab violence undermines the “prospects for peace” is wishful thinking that the violence will stop once a Palestinian State is created. The violence that is incited and celebrated by Palestinian leadership is pure evil, and undermines the rationale of allowing such a state to come into being at all. While all people deserve freedom and self-determination, should the United Nations actively endorse the creation of a violent and anti-Semitic regime as a pathway towards peace and stability?
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