It is time to recognize the US-Palestinian conflict

US Politics
on 16 Comments

Anticipation of yesterday’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reached fever pitch two days ago when Egypt announced its plans Wednesday evening to propose a vote. However, amidst speculation about pressure from Israel and the incoming Trump administration, Egypt backed down the following morning, citing the need for more consultations. By Friday, four Council members had issued an ultimatum, reserving the right to propose the resolution regardless of the Egyptian position.

During these 48 hours, and up until the vote on Friday at 3 PM Eastern, the Obama administration, in its final days, was visibly absent, with rumors that the White House intended to abstain, thereby ensuring passage of the resolution.

Resolution 2334, now adopted, “reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity.” Explaining the American abstention, US Ambassador at the UN Samantha Power said the resolution is consistent with longstanding bipartisan policy, insisting that the US wouldn’t have let it pass without addressing “counterproductive actions by the Palestinians.” To this end, the resolution condemns acts of terrorism, provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric — all of which actions Israel often accuses Palestinians.

Talk of an American action to salvage the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been surfacing for months, with speculation that this would range from recognizing Palestinian statehood to a Rose Garden Speech by Obama. It seems that we finally have our answer: green lighting a resolution that is neither revolutionary nor novel in its input. In fact, resolutions with similar language have been passed previously by both the UN General Assembly and Security Council. The Obama administration is fully aware that since this resolution was passed under Chapter VI, rather than Chapter VII of the UN Charter, there is no enforcement mechanism to implement it, and it is not necessarily binding.

Meanwhile, reactions to America’s abstention ranged from the celebratory to the vituperative.

Palestinians welcomed the passing of the resolution, saying it’s “a necessary step for addressing a 70-year open wound.” In Israel, the mood was less celebratory. In a statement issued by his office, Prime Minister Netanyahu said “the Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes.” Other world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the resolution.

Beyond these predictable reactions, the question remains: what’s the point?

Besides finally exposing a history of shielding Israel at the UN, the Obama administration stands to save face. Since 1972, the US has cast 39 vetoes shielding Israel from critical resolutions in the Security Council. And, Obama’s eight years have been defined by the most humiliating chapter any American administration had with Israeli and Palestinian affairs.

More revealing is perhaps the reaction of many pro-Israel figures in the US, including President-elect Donald Trump. He predictably tweeted about the vote, simply stating that “things will be different” at the UN after he is inaugurated. Members of Congress have also spoken up in support of Israel. Arizona Senator John McCain called the resolution an “outrageous attack,” and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he “will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.” Lobbying groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish organization said the resolution is one-sided, unacceptable, and anti-Israel.

Looking ahead, Nikki Haley will replace Samantha Power at the UN. As governor of South Carolina, Haley signed into law the first anti-BDS bill in the country. In the same vein, there is David Friedman, Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, who supports relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to stolen Palestinian land in Jerusalem. Against this backdrop, the picture looks much less rosy than today’s Security Council vote reveals. However, Palestinians are ready to fight. According to a statement he made at an event in Washington D.C., the Palestinian Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, said he will make life miserable for US representatives if they pursue action against Palestine. “If they do that, nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves,” he said.

At the end of the day, what the saga at the UN and subsequent reactions show are three points:

One: That an American abstention from the world’s top council was required to ensure the success of a resolution favoring Palestinian human rights tells us it is time to recognize the American-Palestinian conflict.

Did you know there are more Americans in Palestine engaging in illegal activity than there are in Iraq and Afghanistan? The only difference is, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, the US never declared war against Palestine. By one estimate, nearly 60,000 illegal settlers in Palestine come from the US. That is nearly triple the number of US armed forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, more and more reports are revealing that US citizens are actively taking part in the Israeli armed forces, potentially committing crimes against humanity and war crimes. These are, of course, facts that pale in comparison to the unwavering financial and military support Israel continues tor receive from American taxpayers.

Two: Palestinian reliance on Arab leaders is overrated.

Though the resolution is the product of a year-long consultation process with many leaders, including Arab governments, it was non-Arab governments that came to Palestine’s aid when Egypt decided to withdraw its support. The reality is that Palestinian history is fraught with disappointment and frustration at Arab’s abuse and manipulation of their cause. Egypt’s withdrawal is just another reminder.

Three: UN resolutions are not necessarily effective.

The UN has passed numerous resolutions on the Question of Palestine. Little, however, has changed on the ground. Rashid Khalidi, Editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, said “punitive action against Israel for its decades of flagrantly illegal behavior would be necessary” to make UN resolutions effective. According to him, this resolution provides the opportunity and the international legal justification for such action because it mandates countries to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Though the resolution doesn’t specifically set out to explain how countries would distinguish between Palestine and its occupier, this could be done using “sanctions by states, public boycott of settlement products, or private, union, foundation and university divestment from companies that support the theft and colonization of Palestinian land,” Khalidi added.

It is unclear whether this resolution, like many others, will come to fruition on the ground in Palestine. But, one thing is certain: the US and Palestine are on a collision course.

About Dorgham Abusalim

Dorgham Abusalim recently graduated with a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. You can follow him on Twitter @dabusalim.

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16 Responses

  1. Citizen
    December 24, 2016, 5:29 pm

    RE; “US and Palestine are on a collision course.”

    Gee, which one is stronger, has more influence?

  2. gingershot
    December 24, 2016, 6:46 pm

    ‘But, one thing is certain: the US and Palestine are on a collision course’

    ‘Into the Palestine Annexation Law-Buzzsaw’ – like an old January Christmas tree into a woodchipper.

    Netanyahu’s diabolic postponing of the final readings of the already infamous ‘Palestine Annexation Law’ (referred to by Powers) until late January has magically transformed itself into a miscalculation of unbelieveable porportions now that UN SCR 2334 has materialized directly in it’s path

    Better still, it has AGAIN drug Trump into the stuck at the hip-mix for an onrushing Round Two whupping of his already disastrous Near-Presidency

    Like a badly staggered Luchador Tag Team trying to pick itself up after having been body slammed into the mat by Obama, Bibi and Donald have hazily heard the bell ring for Round Two of the Trump Donnybrook

    Hmmm – sounds more like some kind of high pitched whine rather than a bell, OMG, it’s a BUZZSAW!

    This is key – as the Apartheid collapses, Bibi is apparently successfully manipulating an ‘easily moved’ Trump along for the ride. Ahem, this works in our favor now

    Once Itay Zalait puts up a Golden Donald statue next to another Golden Bibi in Rabin Square, hopefully in some kind of disgusting lewd embrace that captures reality … then the social revolution in America against Trump can include the revolution against the Israel Lobby. The more Trump is identified with the Lobby at this point, the better it is. If the Lobby is Trump and Trump is the Lobby, we couldn’t ask for a better positioning

    Here, have a ‘wafer thin-dinner mint’, Mr Trump, glut yourself on it, says the maître d’

    First we have the sleazy Trump shennagins with Bibi and Sisi failing to sabotage the US position over UN 2334, and looking STINKING AWFULLY BAD doing it, then, the expected ‘Me, Myself and Irene-level involuntary narcissistic rage’ directed at the UN and Obama, and coming right up, a righteous Bibi, Trump and Friedman all in high dudgeon and all trying to pretend the ‘Palestine Annexation Law’ isn’t precisely as disgusting, sleazy and untenable as it is. America is watching all of it and LEARNING. YUCK

    The Apartheid and the Israeli Lobby/Neocons (as currently being championed by Trump) will collapse together, and they will be need to be SEEN doing so AGAIN at the Palestine Annexation Law fight and fight over the Friedman confirmation at the Senate. They closer Trump is to Bibi the more of a disaster it is for Trump – Israel AND the Lobby going down together as more and more of America will be wishing them well as it happens and reminding them not to let the door smack them on the way out

    Like 2 roped mountain climbers plunging down a deep crevasse, the momentum of one dragging the other with it, Bibi and Trump have already given each other ‘just enough rope’ to do the trick. Trump can’t imagine Israel failing to the degree it will take him down with it. Think again, Donald, you picked a real loser as a dancing partner with Bibi post UN 2334

    With the Bibi as the Apartheid, and Israel’s Great White Hope Trump as representative of the American Israeli Lobby/Neocons, we have all the imagery we need to picture the Apartheid and the Lobby plunging down together

    The incoming UN Sec Co Resolution detonating over Israel – as it now has [Merry Christmas!] before the late January final vote on the law was certainly no unforeseeable ‘Black Swan’ event. Didn’t Bibi realize what passing the Palestine Annexation Law right in the face of the UN 2334 would look like? Is he crazy?

    Bibi is in chaos and the only choices he has are grasping at straws trying to postpone the inevitable – Amona, the Azaria Trial, and the Palestine Annexation Law. He’s writing checks that cannot be cashed. Everybody knew it was coming, Bennett and Netanyahu were practically begging Obama for it

    Yes, Israel and it’s Israeli Lobby-Champion are heading straight into the upcoming ‘Palestine Annexation Law’ vote 2 minutes after Donald is sworn in, cheer-led by a fuming David Friedman all set to show the world who’s boss and just who feels the mostest absolutely entitled to Judea and Samaria, no matter what

    Trump will be lucky if he makes it out of the next 30 days intact – he’s looking like a fool and a freier of Bibi’s already.

    Under incalcuable pressure, the now checkmated and desperate Knesset will pass this prima facie indefensible crime against humantity Hague Bait- ‘law’ directly into the teeth of the standing UN SCR 2334 directly prohibiting anything of this sort, like an old late January Christmas tree into a woodchipper

    That Donald choose to straddle that tree before it went in – well, there it is. STRIKE TWO!

    • ritzl
      December 24, 2016, 8:32 pm

      Rock on gingershot!

      Trump’s gift to us all has been and looks like it will be that he does publicly what the rest of the “establishment” does in private. For all the world to see. He throws the whole broken, corrupt system into high relief. I can’t think of a more precious gift to “the rest of us.”

      Thanks for the “Meaning of Life” reference. Perfect.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=HJZPzQESq_0

    • RoHa
      December 24, 2016, 9:23 pm

      What do you mean by “a Black Swan event”?

      • Maghlawatan
        December 25, 2016, 4:00 am

        It means a risk that is not modelled and so not expected. Comes from finance. Lehman Brothers was not expected to collapse. That was a black swan event. Zionism has a huge groupthink problem and groupthink always ignores systemic risk which is the risk the system produces something the groupthink hasn’t covered.

      • RoHa
        December 25, 2016, 10:11 pm

        Thanks.

    • Marnie
      December 25, 2016, 12:26 am

      “Bibi is in chaos and the only choices he has are grasping at straws trying to postpone the inevitable – Amona, the Azaria Trial, and the Palestine Annexation Law. He’s writing checks that cannot be cashed. Everybody knew it was coming, Bennett and Netanyahu were practically begging Obama for it .”

      Suicide Commandos – “Burn It Down” – YouTube
      Video for youtube suicide commandos 3:06

  3. just
    December 24, 2016, 6:48 pm

    The horrible and shameful truth is that the US has collaborated with and has been complicit in Israel’s master plan to rid the land of Palestine of Palestinians.

    Otherwise, we would not be @ this point today where an American President is being vilified for abstaining from a vote for justice and the rule of international law. Neither would there be countless Israeli- murdered Palestinians.

  4. Bumblebye
    December 25, 2016, 6:30 am

    I was reading Shaun King’s fb page yesterday – activist, journalist – he put out a one sentence post approving of the resolution. A very surprising number of Jewish people responded *also* very much in favor. It’s a level I haven’t seen before – people really are emboldened to speak out at israeli injustice.

  5. talknic
    December 25, 2016, 6:51 am

    “… it is not necessarily binding”

    All International Law is by its very nature binding. The UN Charter is binding on all Member States. Relevant ratified conventions are binding. The Laws, UN Charter and relevant Conventions reaffirmed, emphasized and reiterated in any UN resolution are binding!

  6. talknic
    December 25, 2016, 7:03 am

    ” That an American abstention from the world’s top council was required to ensure the success of a resolution favoring Palestinian human rights tells us it is time to recognize the American-Palestinian conflict.”

    Nonsense.
    A) The US has in the past abstained from numerous Chapt VI resolutions relating to Israel’s breaches of the Law, UN Charter and Conventions, those resolutions were never the less adopted.
    B) The notion that abstention from the world’s top council being required to ensure the success of a resolution favoring Palestinian human rights is weird. The US could have simply voted FOR the resolution

    • italian ex-pat
      December 25, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Totally agree. To me, abstaining from voting is an indication of indecision, of being ‘on the fence’, as it were, not sure whether to say yes or no. Voting yes would have definitely sent a stronger message. The other permanent members of the SC did – why are they not being excoriated?

  7. gamal
    December 25, 2016, 1:38 pm

    not only is there a Palestinian US conflict a weakness in analysis in the west is the inability to locate the Palestinian US conflict within the overall Arab US conflict,

    the US has established Fort Laramie (Israel) Fort Phil Kearney (Baghdad) Fort Apache (Kabul) etc and now is behaving as if the Red Mans Law (International Law) is dead and US rule will be extended to west Asia by the US military, resistance to this is inevitable not caused by hatred, anger, backwardness or religion currently the US is fighting itself and as a by product burning down the Arab house, the situation now in the Arab world is becoming finally pre-revolutionary solely as a result of the insane violence and injustice of US aggression and that of their proxy monarchies

    it might be time to consider

    “There Are No Terrorists? Counterterrorism = Supporting Terrorism? Western Governments Are Supporting Terrorist Organizations Which They are Allegedly Combating”

    “The Western media in chorus is accusing the Syrian government and its allies including Russia and Iran of “crimes against humanity” for having liberated Aleppo from the clutch of Al Qaeda terrorists. “Putin and Assad could face justice for war crimes in Syria” according to the Washington Post.

    In the media coverage of Aleppo, the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists are casually described as opposition “rebels” waging a “revolution” against the government of Bashar al Assad, who is portrayed as a “dictator”.

    The media propaganda campaign has gone into high gear. The words “Al Qaeda”, “Al Nusra” or “terrorists” are simply not mentioned in recent media reports. It never happened. “Opposition rebels” committed to democracy have been crushed by the Russians, according to “authoritative” media sources.

    According to reports, there were no terrorists in Aleppo. The “rebels” are now being portrayed as the victims of Russian aggression. These are the same terrorists who are the object of Obama’s alleged “counterterrorism” campaign, which is largely intent upon protecting the terrorists.

    Lies by Omission

    There is no mention of the fact that East Aleppo has been occupied by Al Qaeda affilated entities (which are on the EU and US State Department “terror lists”) and that these terrorists –which are now portrayed as “freedom fighters’– have committed countless atrocities against civilians. And these atrocities are now casually being blamed on the Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces which liberated Aleppo.

    For four years East Aleppo has been occupied by Al Qaeda, which had established a regime of terror and destruction. The media has portrayed the terrorists as “the moderate” opposition.

    Syria: A US-NATO Sponsored Terrorist Insurrection Initiated in March 2011

    The evidence amply confirms that Washington has supported the terrorists from the very outset. The influx of Salafist mercenaries commenced in the Southern city of Daraa on the border with Jordan in mid-March 2011.

    Moreover, in an August 2011 report, Israeli intelligence news (Debka) confirmed that NATO and the Turkish High Command were involved in recruiting Mujahideen mercenaries throughout “the Middle East and the Muslim world”, while providing the rebels with an vast array of weapons:

    “NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers… ” (Debka) .

    The terrorists are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance. Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity (Al Qaeda in Iraq) created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/there-are-no-terrorists-counterterrorism-supporting-terrorism/5564607

  8. JLewisDickerson
    December 26, 2016, 8:13 am

    RE: “More revealing is perhaps the reaction of many pro-Israel figures in the US, including President-elect Donald Trump. He predictably tweeted about the vote, simply stating that ‘things will be different’ at the UN after he is inaugurated. Members of Congress have also spoken up in support of Israel. Arizona Senator John McCain called the resolution an ‘outrageous attack,’ and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he ‘will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.’ Lobbying groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish organization said the resolution is one-sided, unacceptable, and anti-Israel.” ~ Dorgham Abusalim

    MY FAV(ORITE):

    ■ NEWS ■ PRESS RELEASE

    ● ZOA Condemns Obama/Kerry/Power For Enabling Passage of Anti-Semitic Ethnic Cleansing Anti-Israel UN Res Denying Jewish Rights to Live in Jerusalem /Judea/Samaria

    Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement: [EXCERPTED – J.L.D.]

    We are outraged – but not surprised – that President Barack Hussein Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power enabled the passage of an extraordinary, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel UN Security Counsel resolution this afternoon. . .

    . . . ZOA now urges Congress and president elect Trump to stop $600 million in US aid to the Palestinian Authority and to cut US funding to the UN. The resolution’s horrors are more fully described in ZOA’s release yesterday, “ZOA Urges Veto of Disgraceful Anti-Israel UN Resolution on Jewish Communities,” Dec. 22, 2016, and in “Eight Anti-Israel Outrages Inside the UN Resolution on Settlements,” by Aaron Klein, Breitbart, Dec. 22, 2016.

    Obama and Samantha Power’s enabling of the resolution’s passage confirms ZOA’s worst fears that Obama and Power have anti-Semitic hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. ZOA predicted eight years ago that “Obama will be the worst president for Israel ever.” Apparently, it was not enough for Obama to push through the catastrophic Iran deal that gives a regime, bent on Israel’s and Americas annihilation, $150 billion dollars and paves Iran’s way to a nuclear bomb. Iran has already increased its funding of anti-Israel and anti-American terror. Obama was not satisfied with giving Iran the means to destroy Israel; Obama’s anti-Semitism runs so deep that he also apparently needed to drive one more knife into Israel’s back.

    As ZOA previously warned, there were numerous signs during the past several months that the Obama administration was plotting and paving the way for this anti-Israel anti-Semitic resolution’s passage. There were unwarranted denunciations of Israel by Obama’s U.S. State Department and simultaneous virtually identical condemnations of Israel by Obama’s “echo chamber” at the New York Times and other like-minded media. The White House even crossed out the word “Israel” as the location of Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s burial place. Obama used his eulogy for Peres to in essence falsely accuse Israel of enslaving Palestinians. And a Wikileaks document by a former White House official revealed the administration’s plan. ZOA took out ads in the New York Times warning about what was about to occur. (See ZOA’s Nov. 3 New York Times Ad entitled “After Elections Will Obama Betray Israel at the UN?“,”)

    Unfortunately, Obama went ahead with his ugly plan to enable the resolution and help the radical Islamist PLO/Hamas terrorists – despite heroic efforts to stop the resolution by many caring people, including: President-elect Trump; Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu; President-elect Trump’s excellent nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Israeli envoy Danny Danon; U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton, U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, and many other members of Congress; and the ZOA’s own and some other Jewish groups efforts.

    President Obama has demonstrated that his anti Semitic radical-Islamist-supporting background before becoming President was what has driven his presidency from day one to the very end of his presidency. Obama worshiped for 22 years at Jeremiah Wrights anti-Semitic black liberation theology church whose pastor often shouted “G-d Dam America” and “G-d Damn Israel” and honored anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Obama’s befriended radical Islamists Rashid Khalidi and “Electronic Intifada” founder and head Ali Abunimah, and anti-American radical Bill Ayers. And Obama directed Woods Foundation funds to support an Arab group that runs anti-Israel activities on U.S. college campuses. . . [CONTINUED PRACTICALLY AD NAUSEAM AT – http://zoa.org/2016/12/10346883-zoa-condemns-obamakerrypower-for-enabling-passage-of-anti-semitic-ethnic-cleansing-anti-israel-un-res-denying-jewish-rights-to-live-in-jerusalem-judeasamaria/ ]

    P.S. Personally, I have long considered ZOA to be a DSO (Doubly Subversive Organization) – subversive to BOTH the U.S. AND to Israel. I do, nonetheless (and unlike ZOA and ADL) support the right of free speech (including Mort Klein’s right to link to Breitbart.com), and I believe they are every bit as entitled to its benefits as am I.

    • JLewisDickerson
      December 26, 2016, 9:17 am

      RE: “President Obama has demonstrated that his anti Semitic radical-Islamist-supporting background before becoming President was what has driven his presidency from day one . . .” ~ ZOA’s Mort Klein (from above)

      SPEAKING of “anti Semitic radical-Islamist-supporting background(s)”,
      SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

      [EXCERPTS] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

      “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

      Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .

      . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

      “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

  9. rosross
    December 26, 2016, 10:47 pm

    How can you talk about counter-productive actions by an occupied people? Do they mean counter-productive to occupation? I mean, isn’t that a human right?

    Were the French and others counter-productive to German occupation? Were the Chinese counter-productive to Japanese occupation?

    The hypocrisy in regard to Palestine stinks.

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