An assortment of commentators, academics and former US government officials have signed onto a letter to President Obama urging the US Administration not to exercise its veto in respect of a forthcoming UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for building on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
The resolution, which has been submitted by Lebanon (we all know who controls Lebanon these days), condemns “the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” (That, of course, also includes, among others, the suburbs of French Hill and Gilo.)
In her remarks to the Security Council, Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, the deputy US permanent representative to the UN, stated: “Permanent-status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties – and not by recourse to the Security Council…. We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this Council and will continue to do so, because such action moves us no closer to the goal of a negotiated final settlement. Rather, we believe it would only complicate efforts to achieve that goal.”
As such, the call for the Administration not to oppose the resolution not only goes against current US policy but also plays into the hands of Israel’s enemies and detractors, who, as we all know, are doing everything in their power to vilify Israel and isolate her diplomatically.
That having been said, I have gone on record as being in favour of Israel halting building on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem in order to remove the excuses currently being employed by the Palestinian Authority for refusing to negotiate.
Were the US Administration to be persuaded by the signatories to the letter to change its position, the United States would bring to an end its long standing policy of exercising a veto on one-sided Security Council resolutions condemning Israel. Were the resolution to be adopted, it would without doubt be followed by others calling for sanctions.
Those who signed onto the letter should know that they are playing into the hands of Israel’s enemies.