Malgorzata Koraszewska on the UN’s new Israel resolution

My adopted Polish mother, Malgorzata, emailed me about the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israel and Palestine, which you can find here.  Among its stipulations are these (taken from Abu Yehuda’s site; Yehuda also has questions and answers about the resolution, which he considers “unbalanced”, while CNN lists other questions and answers):

  • The statement that Israel’s establishment of settlements across the Green Line (including eastern 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,” and the demand that Israel “cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
  • The condemnation of attempts to change the “demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.”
  • The statement that the UN will recognize no changes in the pre-1967 lines except those agreed upon by both sides.
  • The call for “all States … to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
  • The condemnation of violence, terrorism, incitement, etc. (The “fig leaf” that allowed the US to abstain on what was originally a 100% anti-Israel resolution).
  • The request that the UN Secretary-General report on the progress of implementing the resolution every three months.

The resolution also includes designating area of the Western Wall (“Wailing Wall”) as “occupied territory.”

The significance of this vote, as CNN notes, is this:

. . . this is the first Security Council resolution in more than 35 years to deal with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The resolution lays out guidelines for dealing with the settlements, which is something no US President has done at the Security Council since 1980.

The vote on this resolution was 14 in favor, none against, with one country abstaining: the U.S. Previously the U.S.—clearly under Obama’s direction—had voted “no” in favor of similar resolutions, which canceled them, but the US abstention here, which led to the resolution passing, was designed by Obama to send a message: Israel better stop building settlements. As CNN noted, “Obama has exercised the veto power of the United States at the Security Council on every other resolution relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Now this resolution isn’t binding in any meaningful sense, and Trump, who is more sympathetic to Israel than is Obama, may try to overturn it, but that’s unlikely given the Security Council. But the resolution does send a signal to the world that, according to Malgozata, Israel is uniquely bad among all countries.

At any rate, Malgorzata was very disturbed by this resolution and the U.S.’s abstention rather than veto. I asked her to tell me why the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal, and she gave me this answer (indented and in quotes, all quoted with permission):

“There is no ban on building in a territory occupied legally (i.e., taken in a defensive war with no possibility for a peace treaty) in any of the legal texts comprising international law—until the UN resolution of 23 December 2016 declaring Israel’s building – as the only state in the world in a similar situation – as being illegal. The Geneva Convention, as so many are quoting, does not speak about voluntary movement of people from one territory to the other but about forced transfer of populations and was, according to the authors of this convention who were interviewed many times, not applicable to Israel’s situation (it was designed to prevent repetition of the actions of Stalin and of the Nazis). In other situations, like Cyprus, Tibet, and West Sahara, nobody is ever talking about “illegal building”. On the contrary, the E.U. had even an aid project for building homes in the part of Cyprus which is occupied by Turkey. You can’t have an international law which is directed to just one country. The law must apply to all countries in a similar situation.

Israel is building houses mostly on the areas which it absolutely needs for defence reasons. This is in Area C, which is not an occupied territory (or at least wasn’t until December 23, 2016) and which, according to the Oslo Accords, is fully under Israeli administration and is a disputed territory; the fate of this territory was supposed to be negotiated between Israel and Palestinians. The blocks of settlements, according to negotiations done until now that area was understood (and confirmed in writing by consecutive American Presidents) to remain in Israeli hands and Israel was supposed to compensate Palestinians with other pieces of Israel proper.

By the way, Israeli settlements on the West Bank occupy less than 2% of West Bank’s area. And the building that the West is shouting about takes place INSIDE existing settlements when a new school, kindergarten or flats are needed. There are other settlements, built by Jewish fanatics, far from the border, which are built without any Israeli permission and are deemed illegal according to Israeli law. They have been mostly demolished. If you don’t know about that, it’s only because nobody in the West writes when an Israeli house is demolished, only when houses belonging to Arab murderers are demolished. But this is a digression.

So, until 23 December of this year, there was no international law saying that Israeli settlements are illegal, nor international practice to judge such settlements illegal when it was not Jews building them. However, the Security Council is a body which has powers to establish new laws. And now they did just that. Who did it? Russia (occupies Crimea, not to mention Chechnia); China (occupies Tibet), former colonial powers France and Britain (and what about Gibraltar and Falkland Islands?), New Zealand—a colonial creation—and assorted groups of dictatorships and failed states.

There is also a problem of what is an occupation. According to Wikipedia: “Military occupation is effective provisional control of a certain ruling power over a territory which is not under the formal sovereignty of that entity, without the volition of the actual sovereign”.(Actual sovereign is a state.) So whose territory is Israel occupying?

A very short history: the territory was for 400 years under the rule of Ottoman Empire. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations divided its lands into mandates. They established a British Mandate for Palestine which encompasses the territory of today’s Jordan, Israel, West Bank and Gaza, with the aim of building there a Jewish National Home for Jewish people persecuted in Russia, Eastern Europe, Arab world and other places. The civil rights of existing Arab population were to be guaranteed, but the national rights belonged only to Jews.

After a short time Great Britain cut off over 70% of the land and created Transjordan, which was accepted by the League of Nations statement that Transjordan would be for Arabs (Jews who lived there were expelled and no Jew was allowed to settle there), while the rest, from Jordan River to Mediterranean Sea, was to be Jewish (without moving any Arab from this territory).

Jews accepted, Arabs refused. British allowed uncontrolled Arab immigration to the Jewish part and very, very restricted immigration of Jews – contrary to their Mandate.You often hear the argument that Arabs were a majority in the land: the above is an explanation of why it was so. In 1948, when Arab armies invaded the newly established Israel (after rejecting the UN Resolution about Partition which Jews accepted), Jordan managed to occupy the West Bank and the part of Jerusalem containing the Old Town and places considered most holy by Jews. They murdered and expelled all Jews from this part of Jerusalem (Jews were for quite a few centuries a majority population of Jerusalem), blew up synagogues, and destroyed Jewish homes. Of course, no Jew was allowed to visit the Temple Mount or the Western Wall.

This part of the old Mandate of Palestine came back into Jewish hands 1967, when Jordan, in spite of entreaties by the Israeli government and in the belief that Arab armies would destroy Israel any moment, started to shell the Jewish part of Jerusalem and went into attack. Because Jordan didn’t have any rights to this piece of land and there was no other state that could be called sovereign over it except the League of Nations resolution about the Jewish state stretching to River Jordan – how can Israel be considered an “an occupying power”? There is a very good paper about it “Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris and the Borders of Israel” by professors Abraham Bell and Eugene Kontorovich. Moreover, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994 states this:

The international boundary between Jordan and Israel is delimited with reference to the boundary definition under the Mandate as is shown in Annex I (a), on the mapping materials attached thereto and coordinates specified therein. The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a), is the permanent, secure and recognized international boundary between Jordan and Israel, without prejudice to the status of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967.

There is more (for example, treating an armistice line from 1949 as “1967 borders”) but perhaps this is enough to give you an idea why I think that the U.N. resolution is a shameful scandal. I don’t know what to do now: there are over 500,000 Jews who live in settlements which are now legal according to Israel and illegal according to the new “international law” which is applicable to only one state in the world. And this new “international law” says that Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is illegal. Evicting squatters in the West often causes demonstrations and protests. But the world wants now to evict from their homes over half a million people, many of whom were born there and had their own children there. Well, why not—after all, they’re all Jews, aren’t they?”

I then asked Malgorzata this:  “Why were the settlements widely called ‘illegal’ BEFORE December 23, though?” Her reply:

“The answer why it was called illegal is another long story. Arabs en masse thought that any state which is not Islamic on a territory once in possession of Muslims is illegal. This is stated in the Koran. The more fanatic among them even think that Spain is illegal because of Andalusia. Additionally, Jews having their own state was something that was for them absolutely abhorrent. Jews, if they are allowed to live at all, should be “dhimmi”— subservient and humiliated. The USSR, which initially hoped for Israel would be its Communist colony in the Middle East, discovered that Israelis are not too keen on Communism. So they changed their mind and started to slander Israel however they could. It is a Soviet invention to equate Israel with a colonial enterprise. Catholics (and broader Christians with the exception of Evangelical Christians) felt threatened. Judaism was supposed to disappear and Christians to take the place of Jews as God’s Chosen People. The restoration of the state of Israel and Jewish Jerusalem was an anathema to them. (The Vatical recognized Israel only in 1993.)

So you have many strands which converge on illegality of Israel as such: Islam, Christianity, Communism, anti-Americanism and anticolonialism. Now, Israel was recognized by U.N. and in 1967 the memory of the Holocaust was fresh enough, so nobody except Arabs were comfortable saying that Israel as such was illegal. But when in 1967 Israel got more territory in the defensive war with Arabs, well, now they could start to shout about illegality and the Palestinian nation.

You do know that while Judea and Samaria (renamed the “West Bank” by Jordan after it occupied it – illegally – 1948), as well as Gaza, were in Arab hands from 1948 to 1967, and yet nobody talked about a Palestinian State, not to mention building one. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), established in 964 (what were they suppose to “liberate” when the “West Bank” was in Jordanian hands?) even had in their charter an article stating that they have no wish to take the West Bank from Jordan and that the West Bank is NOT a subject of their aspirations.” The UN, with its automatic anti-Israel majority (first Communist states and their clients plus Arab states, then just all Islamic states and all dictatorships) passed a disproportionate number of resolutions condemning Israel. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said himself: “Over the last decade, I have argued that ‎we cannot have a bias against Israel at the U.N. Decades of political maneuvering have created a ‎disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel. In many cases, ‎instead of helping the Palestinian issue, this reality has foiled the ability of the U.N. to fulfill its role ‎effectively.”‎ Here you have some numbers of resolutions calculated by UN Watch:

  • UN Human Rights Council:  From its creation in 2006 to 2016, the UN Human Rights Council, over one decade, adopted 135 resolutions criticizing countries; 68 out of those 135 resolutions—more than 50%—were against Israel.
  • UN Nations General Assembly: From 2012 through 2015, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 97 resolutions criticizing countries; 83 out of those 97 have been against Israel (86%).
  • UNESCO: Each year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopts around 10 resolutions a year criticizing only Israel. UNESCO does not criticize any other UN member state in a country-specific resolution (100%). An exception occurred in 2013, when, under pressure from UN Watch, UNESCO adopted one resolution on Syria.
  • ILO:The International Labour Organization (ILO) was established to improve conditions of labor, regulate work hours, fight unemployment, assure adequate living wages, and protect workers worldwide. At its annual conference, however, the ILO produces a single country-specific report castigating Israel.”

That ends Malgorzata’s take on the resolution. I just want to add that Fatah, considered the more moderate faction of Palestinian politics, published two cartoons about this resolution, which apparently thanked the 14 countries voting in favor of this resolution. PMW notes this:

Three days ago Fatah’s official Facebook page posted a drawing of its map of “Palestine,” which includes all of Israel and painted like the Palestinian flag, being used to stab the word “settlement.” The text above the image: “#Palestine will defeat the settlement ” (First drawing below)

Yesterday in response to the UN Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal, Fatah republished the identical image but added a pool of blood at the bottom, and the words “Thank You” above the image, and the names of the 14 countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution (second drawing below):

thanks-un

thanks-un-blood

Readers are invited to discuss all this, and I expect Malgorzata will be around to give comments and answer questions.

127 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    David Deutsch shared this on twitter a couple of days ago, and I found it extremely helpful (lasts about 1 hour, including a couple of questions at the end).

    It’s professor Eugene Kontorovich, mentioned by Malgorzata above, giving a very thorough, understandable lecture on the legality of the settlements under international law.

    • harrync
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Nice legalistic argument. [Never practiced, but did pass the California Bar exam, so I can appreciate the skill here.] But the thing is, what came to my mind was a little ditty that my driver ed teacher like to quote about yielding the right of way: “He was right, dead right, as he drove along, but he is just as dead as if he’d been wrong.” I fear that a few centuries from now, Israel will have been proven to be right – but be dead.

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Maybe so, but I think Israel will survive longer than Europe.

  3. Malgorzata
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    sub

    • Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      …standing and applauding your fine work, here, and very grateful for it….

      • Malgorzata
        Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Thank you. I just can’t stand the mountains of ignorance and distortion of truth surrounding Israel.

  4. Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I expect this resolution will be ignored by all parties, as have the umpteen anti-Israel resolutions before it. Since the UN is essentially powerless, what is it about this particular resolution that has ignited such a reaction by Israel? Except for the US not using its veto, what makes this resolution unusual? Israel pretty much knew that it stands almost alone in the world on this issue but intends to proceed anyway. What has changed?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      This resolution is a huge boost to the belligerent morale of those Palestinians who want the disappearance of Israel. It definitely removes any incentives for Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel – why should they even pretend that they are willing to compromise (which they are not and say that aloud, but in Arabic) when UN will give them the state on the silver plate and Israel will be further delegitimized? It is a huge boost to all Islamic (not necessarily Palestinian) fanatics who want the disappearance of Israel. It is a boost to Iran which contantly says that this “Zionist entity” must disappear from the map. And, for religious Jews and even for secular Jews it is a confirmation of two recent UNESCO resolutions denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The feeling in Israel is of having a friend who has just plunged a knife into your back. And it is a huge boost for BDS movement which has already had some successes in boykotting Israeli academics and artists, and is working now on economic strangulation of Israel.

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Thank you. At the risk of appearing overly persistent, how exactly does this empower Israel’s enemies? What material fact has been changed in terms of boots on the ground? Is it not just another powerless piece of paper?

        BTW, I do believe the non-veto does reflect the personal animosity that developed between Netanyahu and Obama.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          Well, for starters, more Palestinian youngsters will be fired to take a knife and stab Israeli civillinas, more Palestinian car-owners will feel entitled to ram their cars into people waiting at the bus stop. Moreover, BDS in U.S. might go to courts now against anti-BDS legistation of some states. If Israel is illegally occupying territories it has no right to – and they have a Security Council’s resolution to show – what right have the U.S. state authorities to refuse doing business with companies boycotting this horrible state. Besides, there is International Criminal Court which takes its clue from U.N. and Mahmoud Abbas already submitted there some complaints. Israel might lose these cases. Of course, there is more – like U.S. position vis-a-vis its allies. Now they know for sure that they cannot trust U.S.’s promises. But that is not Israel’s headache.

          • Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            I seriously doubt that that the resolution will radicalize any Palestinians, because to those prone to violence against Israelis, all of the settlements (up to and including Tel Aviv and Haifa) are illegal regardless of what the UN has to say about it.

            • Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

              Keep in mind how young some terrorists are, and how their brains are developing alongside their hormonal system. Trigger the right emotions, at an extreme enough level, and things happen.

        • johnw
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          I agree, and put the blame squarely on Netanyahu. He shouldn’t have meddled in US politics. Now he gets to deal with his bbf Trump, and his buddy Putin – who didn’t just abstain but voted for the resolution and has built Iran’s nuclear reactors.

          This all seems to me that Obama is getting flak for seeing the term even-handed as meaning even-handed.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            I wouldn’t call meddling in US politics respionding to the invitation of Congress to talk in last desperate attempt to save his own country from a disastrous agreement which gave the mullah both mountains of money to pay terrorists to attack Israel, and to Iran – repeating about how it is going to destroy Israel – a means to really destroy it. Yes, I know that Obama was against this speach. But would you condemn president Benes if he was invited to talk to the British Parliament before Munich Conference and he would’ve come against the wishes of Chamberlain? That was the reading of the situation in Israel.

            • johnw
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

              Yes that’s meddling, accepting a partisan invitation to address Congress just before an election where he has a clearly preferred candidate in an attempt to sway votes. And if you’re referring to the Iran deal, sorry disagree again. The US did not own and could not independently enforce the sanctions, which were about to expire. The choice was get some sort of deal or get no deal. I understand that people don’t trust Iran, and with good reason, but considering the fact that both the US and Israel would destroy Iran if they ever attack, I think a more measured approach is a better path than constant pro-Israel saber rattling.

              So I have a question for you. Where does the US commitment to Israel end? I understand and agree that as a fellow western-style democracy we have an obligation to defend and stand by Israel, but is there ever a bridge too far?, where our interests diverge particularly if we recognize that Palestinians need to have a future too?

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

                I’m neither American nor Israeli so I cannot really answer your questions about commitment. But as I see it Israel is the best ally US have in the Middle East. US never had to send its soldiers to defend Israel -Israel does it itself. US (and President Obama) repeted many times that they are friends of Israel. President Obama even said that he is the best friend Israel ever had among American presidents. Well, a friend does not agree to depriving his friend of the legal access to places this friend values over anything else on Earth. About Iran and meddling we will have to disagree.

              • Filippo
                Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

                “I understand that people don’t trust Iran, and with good reason . . . .”

                Perhaps in the same sense that the post-1979 Iranian regime hasn’t trusted the United States since the 1953 US CIA-engineered overthrow of the government and installation the Shah, and the U.S. support of Iraq in its war against Iran in the 1980’s. (Re: film of Saddam Hussein and U.S. envoy Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands in 1983(?)) I trust that I am correctly understanding and recalling that particular historical event.

      • Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Reminds me: Arabs call Israel the little Satan, as an extension of America, the Big Satan. USA’s abstention will come back around like a boomerang, and Americans at home (not abroad) will die, as extremists are moved to become terrorists. This won’t only affect Israel.
        Of course, even the attacks in the USA will be blamed on Israel, using settlements as excuse.

    • Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Sorry, not all parties. I expect the Palestinians to use it as propaganda as usual. But that is expected.

    • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      + 1. I think Israelis know they stand alone. At the same time, I think Palestinians know they receive plenty of moral support for their “cause” but little material support.

      • Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Actually, I believe their leaders are getting quite a lot of financial support. Even the Palestinians agree, though, that the financial support isn’t “tricking down” to them or the infrastructure of their towns and villages.

  5. Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t think taking territory during a defensive war is a universally recognized right. When the US attacked Panama, or Grenada, or funded guerrillas in Nicaragua, or bombed Cambodia, would any of those countries have the right to take US territory (eg military bases) in self-defense (if they could)? Or if we thought we were being threatened by N Korea or Cuba, would it have been our right to permanently occupy parts of those countries in self-defense? I don’t think so.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      I could probably find the relevant paragraphs or articles, but I do not have them at hand. Maybe this quotation will be enough:
      “International jurists generally draw a distinction between situations of “aggressive conquest” and territorial disputes that arise after a war of self-defense. Former State Department Legal Advisor Stephen Schwebel, who later headed the International Court of Justice in the Hague, wrote in 1970 regarding Israel’s case: “Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.”

      • KD33
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, saying “settlements are not the problem” does not make the problem go away when so many disagree. Adherents to the two-state vision mostly point to the boundaries of the 1967 war as the best balance.

        • Posted December 31, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          Incidentally, the Palestinian Authority made it a CAPITAL CRIME for any land in the West Bank or Gaza to be sold to a Jew or Israeli. Hard to imagine what would happen if Israel or the USA or any European Union nation tried to return the favor vis-a-vis Muslims or immigrants from Arab lands.

    • Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It is a universally recognized right, with Israel being a famous exception. So yes, if Grenada, Panama, and any of the countries the US had invaded were able to repel the invasion and successfully invade the US, the US could have legally lost territory to them. Which is probably why we never (not since 1945) invade countries that can actually repel the invasion and invade us in turn.

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m sorry but no country would sit still while they are “defensively” invaded, even if the invaders have the “right”. Just suppose Panama tried it on the US.

        This sounds like special pleading.

        • Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:25 am | Permalink

          What special pleading? Of course the US would resist a Panamanian defensive invasion, except that Panama is in no position to attack the US in response to being invaded, or even successfully repeal a US invasion.
          But in a theoretical war between the US and China it would be possible for the Chinese to repeal a US invasion and maybe invade Guam or Hawaii.

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        I think there are only two countries with this ability, namely, Canada and Mexico, so the USA hasn’t done such invasions since the mid-19th century.

  6. Jay
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The only country in the middle East with real civil rights, outstanding education, technological expertise and rule of law.

    No wonder the UN and the left hate it.

    • KD33
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Please do not say that the whole “left” hates Israel. Simply untrue.

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        “Please do not say that the whole “left” hates Israel. Simply untrue.”

        I second that. Maybe I’m just really bad at being on the left because despite trying I can’t even figure out why I’m supposed to. Can someone explain it to me?

        • Carl
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          Explanation: Left and right just are not suitable categories for most discussions. It’s much more fruitful to deal with individual issues and positions.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Which must be why 70% of American Jews support left-of-center political candidates and social policies.

      But, hey, keep those postcards coming from the right-wing post-truth zone.

      • Rita
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        +1

        • Carl
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Great piece from Nick Cohen – thanks for posting.

          However, one thing he says that doesn’t seem quite right is this:

          Whenever I hear Jews announce their hatred of Israel’s very existence, I suspect that underneath their loud bombast lies a quiet plea to the Islamists and neo-Nazis who might harm them: “I’m not like the others. Don’t pick on me.”

          I think the “plea” is not directed at Islamists and neo-Nazis, but to theie fellow travelers in politics – “Accept me, I’m not like the others.”

          • somer
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            Yes I think that’s more likely

      • somer
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        The reason Jews in America a mostly pro Left is that most, because of a nearly uninterrupted history of religious discrimination and/or persecution most couldn’t imagine – are classical liberals and very much for separation of church and state and prevention of discrimination against minorities. They want state protections for decent minimum rights, but not authoritarianism – hence there has been some fall away since the 60s with the rise of identity politics – but still left because of the extreme religious fundamentalist right that is so prevalent in America but not the rest of the West
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/03/24/why-most-american-jews-vote-for-democrats-explained/?utm_term=.ddc3ac382740

        In the rest of the West, Jewish allegiance to the left has fallen away because of left identity and disaffection politics and the rise of right nationalism that in my view goes with this self aggrandising mindset.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I do not really want to get into a discussion of all of this because others know a lot more about it than I do. The U.S. has always been a friend of Israel and will continue to be. I suspect that Obama did what he did to get back at Netanyahu for his actions during the Iranian debate. I think most reasonable people would consider what he did and what the republicans did as disgusting. Whatever you think, we have one president at a time, at least up until now.

    Arguing religion – Jewish vs. Islam or Catholics vs. Protestants is just an endless road to nowhere. A long time ago, George Washington warned about foreign entanglements and we have ignored him ever since. And we have paid the price. We refuse to learn.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      I have some trouble with believing, like “johnw” above seems to suggest, that President Obama decided to allow this anti-Israeli resolution pass in the Security Council only because of a wish for petty revenge on Netanyahu. From the first days of his presidency President Obama tried to distance himself from Israel. When he talked about getting “daylight” between U.S and Israel there was no history as yet of any bad feelings between Netanyahu and him. He just seemed to believe that the close ties with Israel were not good for the interests of US.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        We can argue over details of this event or a thousand others on the subject. Please look at it from someone who has no skin in the game. I am simply a citizen, an atheist of this country who has watched this fight for many years. It is politics and it is religion and the two cannot be separated. Where does it end? I think never and I am sick of it.

        • BJ
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          A lot of people, myself included, don’t see the Jewish people as adherents of just another religion. They have ethnic ties as well, but more importantly, they have repeatedly suffered oppression and the threat of extermination throughout history and in all corners of the world. There are literally hundreds of millions of people and dozens of countries around the world who actively wish to exterminate them and their country (AKA commit genocide). It is important for more powerful nations to stand up and be willing to defend any group from being wiped off the face of the earth; the fact that one of these groups happens to have a common religion is immaterial.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            I do not believe I said lets not defend them or help the Islamic population of the world to exterminate them. And as far as I am aware we have been defending Israel. If this is not so, let me know. Some facts do remain and that is, this is and always has been a religious war. If not that then what? Do we need an education in 2000 years of this so we can understand the next 2000 years. Because people hate each other and spend their lives living in and justifying this hate, does not mean the rest of us have to stand up wave flags and sing songs.

            • BJ
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

              I’m not sure I understand the point of your original question if it doesn’t imply the answer that we should stop defending religious groups under threat at some point.

              The fact that it is a war about religion is simply not a fact that I think should be considered in weighing whether or not to defend Israel. One very small, historically persecuted group lives under the constant threat of demolition. I don’t understand why their religion means anything. At the end of the day, one small group is being threatened by one extremely large group, and the small group is not committing large-scale atrocities, so I can’t see any reason not to defend it if it’s within our power to do so. Religion simply doesn’t enter into the equation.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

                Possibly you believe you are talking to someone who never heard of the middle east or Israel? I am not sure. In any case, your attitude on the whole question is – my way or the highway. That peace deal is just around the corner, right?

                Religion is not a fact that should be considered, you say. You don’t understand why their religion means anything. Do you understand what part of the world we are talking about? Then to top of your story – this is one small group, just one small group. Please save it. Israel is one of the most powerful countries on earth. Pound for pound they would likely beat the U.S. or any other country. I understand the geography but also know the performance. Take the propaganda somewhere else.

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        My observation also.

  8. Carl
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    This is a fantastic piece. Intelligence, knowledge, and moral clarity.

    President Obama’s failure to veto this U.N. resolution reflects very badly on him. Even more, if the rumors his administration was actually behind the resolution’s proposal and wording.

    He’s as lame a duck as has ever been – what the hell is he trying to accomplish?

  9. Sarah
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The message from the Security Council to anyone who is listening is: “Terrorism works. Lies work. No one will punish you for either thing, ans you can short-circuit normal diplomacy.”

  10. Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the motivation, this move by Obama is horrific and spineless. I am a big supporter of BO on just about every other issue. Here, however, you always have to have your allies’ back. I thought he was a bigger man than to allow his personal animosity to alter well-established policy of protecting Israel. Bibi is not my favorite, but he was elected by the only democratic society in the region, and you have to respect that no matter how slighted you may feel personally.

    This move is actually diminishing my disdain for and horror in a Trump Presidency; and I didn’t think that was possible.

    • KD33
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      First, how would that diminish your disdain for Trump?

      I don’t think this (non) vote had personal animosity behind it, though Obama could rightly feel that way. The U.S. has for many years expressed its concern over the settlements and argued with Bibi over it. This does not come as a surprise to me.

      • Carl
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but my opinion of Trump is also elevated by Obama’s recklessness. On this issue, Trump has the better grasp of the situation (so far, fingers crossed). My opinion of President Obama has dropped sharply. Someone used “Trump-like” to describe Obama’s behavior here, and it seems to fit well.

    • Filippo
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      How is Israel, with its continued building of settlements making it any easier for the U.S. to exercise its Security Council veto on behalf of Israel. Is a two-state solution desirable? Is Israel opposed?

      At the same time, Palestinians and their Middle East and other supporters shoot themselves in the foot by denying Israel’s right to exist and/or fulminating about extirpating and driving Israelis into the sea.

      • Carl
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        I think a two state solution is desirable. I think Israel does as well. The failure to veto this resolution damages that prospect immensely. It’s the Arab side that needs to be convinced of a two state solution, and shifting our perceived support in their direction only encourages their hope for the desired one state solution, an Arab state – what do you think all that “fulminating about driving the Israelis into the sea” means?

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I think that the two-state solution has been dead in the water for years, but nobody in the world of international politics dares to say it aloud.

  11. mikeyc
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this thorough and enlightening précis on a topic I was not as familiar with as I thought.

    I think I am in a minority here and if it wasn’t for Da Roolz would probably be called bad names, but I think Obama did the right thing by allowing the resolution to pass.

    While it is clear that Israel gets undeserved bad press (I understand how understated that is, but then, some of that bad press is deserved) and that the specifics of the current settlement issues are particularly misrepresented by the anti-Israel crowd, it can’t be a surprise to anyone that Israeli intransigence on issues like settlements has been a part (some would say a central part) of the problems in the region. The U.S. is and has been rightly on Israel’s side, but I think at times even the best of friends have to do what amounts to a slap in the face to get their friend to confront a problem partly of their own making. This is (I think) the message Obama was sending to Israel – “we have always supported you and will continue to do so but your intransigence on issues like this, no matter how it is misrepresented by your enemies, endanger not only yourselves and the region, but our interests as well. We’ve tried to get you to listen to how others see what you are doing and though we can’t agree with much of what they say, there is some truth to the complaints. So, own your role in it, maybe the pressure will help us find a peaceful solution.”

    Or something like that.

    • KD33
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree here. While I learned something from the post, it does not change my view, built as I’ve followed this over the years, that a two-state solution, however far in the future it is achieved (if at all), is the only viable way to lasting peace. And, that Israel’s expansion of settlements endangers this possibility, and has accelerated that danger under Netenyahu. So it may be hard to swallow for some, but I see the US’ (lack of) vote as being for Israel’s own good. I’d like to hear the arguments in favor of this, and of the abstaining vote, from someone knowledgable so we can compare to Malgorzata’s presentation.

      • Carl
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        So it may be hard to swallow for some, but I see the US’ (lack of) vote as being for Israel’s own good. I’d like to hear the arguments in favor of this, and of the abstaining vote, from someone knowledgable so we can compare to Malgorzata’s presentation.

        Here you go:

        By abstaining, we signal to our Arab and Muslim friends throughout the world we support them. They can continue to play the long waiting game. They can gain a state, and continue to constrict Israel. Eventually the Zionist entity will be “removed” from the region, and the final solution achieved.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          C’mon, Carl, I think that was a sincere request, not an invitation to a sarcastic polemic.

          • Sarah
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t think it was a sarcastic polemic. It sounds like the simple truth to me.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

              True, it may be, Sarah. But the best argument in favor of the US abstention (which is what KD33 had asked for), it was not.

        • KD33
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think our “Arab and Muslim friend” are as naive as to think that is the message. They now full well the U.S. sands fully behind Israel’s right to exist as a nation. The non-vote does nothing to change that.

          • Carl
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            I think you are mistaken to think of it as a non-vote. It will have a large effect. Law suits and perhaps even attempts to drag certain Israelis into international court.

            This action will not enhance chances for a peace agreement. When Israel had a willing partner in negotiations – Sadat, it gave up a huge chunk of land and its oil, and achieved peace. Negotiations now are much more remote.

            Not only has the current administration “stuck it to Netanyahu” but to the American people and the new administration. Trump cannot rescind this action, it stands as a huge blunder.

            Perhaps Trump will take us out of the U.N., stop or reduce America’s 20% budget contribution, or tell it to place its offices in some other country.

        • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          + 1. To me, it seems that most Palestinians and other Arabs regard the two-state solution only as a step to eliminating Israel.

    • Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I respect your opinion, and I am not a fan of Bibi, but I simply do not see how this move in any way forwards the chance for peace. Maybe I am biased, but the Palestinians’ leaders have never wanted a two state solution regardless of what their constituants want. They only want to maintain their power, and this will only give them more ammunition to deflect their own inadequacies while blaming Israel for everything.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I can’t agree both with your statement about intransingence of Israelis in settlements issue and assertion that the settlements constitute a part of the problem. Let’s start with settlements. Israelis are such strange people that where they see a possibility to build something, they do it. When there is a prospect for peace they just dismantle their settlements and accept peace. They did that on Sinai Penninsula in exchange for peace with Egypt. They hoped for the same with Gaza but instead of peace they got rockets. They were definitely not prepared to go back to 1949 armistice lines (with 15 km in the country breath and without Jerusalem. They administer Judea and Samaria (West Bank) since 1967 – next year it will be 50 years. And how much area have they taken for their settlements? Under 2%. In exchange for the promise of negotiation (not fo peace) Netanyahu announced 10 months freeze in any building inside settlements (inclusive a new room for a new baby). But Abbas didn’t fulfill his promis to come to the negotiation table. Settlements are not a problem. The problem is Palestinian refusal to accept that they will have a Jewish state as a neighbour. There were many occasions Palestinians could’ve got their state – but they refused time and time again. This is the main problem, the main obstacle to pece: Palestinins desire not to have their own state but to destroy the Jewish one. There are enough speaches which their officials (starting with Arafat) gave in Arabic and which are translated into English for anyone who wants to read them which shows this. The trouble is that it is much easier to blame Jews so why bother? Israelis were and mostly are prepared to give up land for pece. That was the basis of their policy for a long time. But when the prospect is to give land and get war (Hamas, ISIS, Al-Kaida etc.) they refuse. The world however demands a noble suicide from them and when they refuse, calls it intransingence. How about talking for once about Arab intransingence?

      • mikeyc
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your response (to everyone here). I do think the Israelis have gotten undeserved criticism for their intransigence on settlements, but they have also gotten some that is well-deserved.

        I’ve only one comment to yours (mostly because I have passed the 95%tile confidence in my knowledge on the subject – thanks again for your words here. They have helped me understand better and I will save them);

        “How about talking for once about Arab intransigence?”

        For once? I understand that most of the media is anti-Israel and acts as echo chambers (if not the creators) for anti-Israeli propaganda and that much of the political world (particularly in the U.N.) buys into that nonsense – and THAT (IMO), more than Israeli settlements are the biggest threats to peace in the region.

        But I am quite certain that the U.S., WAY before Obama took office, has been talking to and about the Arabic world’s intransigence on these issues. Over and over again. This and that summit over the decades. It was an issue when I was a boy and it is still one now. Arab intransigence wasn’t discussed?

        More to the point – even if it were true that we haven’t been talking about Arab intransigence, it doesn’t follow that we must be silent about Israeli intransigence -*even though it seems it is not true in the specific cases cited here*. To the extent that we have influence with anyone we should exercise it if there is chance to bring some stability to an unstable region. I see it as Obama’s last chance to do something I suspect many presidents have wanted to do but were pressured not to – allow criticism of Israel to actually put pressure on her.

        People here have framed it as something personal between Obama and Netanyahu. While I won’t pretend to know if there is any real, personal animosity there – and it may well be true that dislike for the Israeli was a motive for Obama’s (pact of) action, I see it as his only chance to affect change in a diplomatic situation he sees as intractable. A last kick in the pants, hoping against hope for some change for the positive. I think it was risky, but bold, even if it is tarnished by such a Trumpian motive.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Your statement about the press being so very pro-Israeli would be a surprise to most Israelis. I cannot say that I know too much about American press (I read only NYT an very sporadically Washington Post – the amount of condemnations of Israel is much, much higher than condemnations of Arabs and this was counted by some reserachers, so it’s not just my impression) but I read European press and I follow the decision of UN and the most known human right organizations. Some statistics about UN and who is condemned there and who isn’t is above, in what I wrote to Jerry and he posted. The same ratio of statementa condemning Israel to statemnets condemning Arabs/Palestinians is in the European press, in Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, you name it. When you have on the one side leaders who say they are ready for compromises and on the other side leaders who incite their people to hate and murder and proudly announce (as Abbas did recently) that since he became the president of Palestinian Authority he never agreed to the smallest compromise and his position is still the same as it was the first day, you would do the right thing by pressing the intrasingent Abbas to accept a compromise and not press the side you have some influence over. You would press Abbas to accept a few Jews among the citizens of his future Palestinian state (Abbas announced that in the future Palestine not one Israeli Jew would have the right to reside).

          • mikeyc
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            “Your statement about the press being so very pro-Israeli would be a surprise to most Israelis. ”

            I didn’t say that. In fact, I wrote; “I understand that most of the media is anti-Israel and acts as echo chambers (if not the creators) for anti-Israeli propaganda …”

            • Malgorzata
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              Sorry!!! I obviously read your comment too quickly. It’s quite late in Poland now and my brain informs me that it’s time to take a break otherwise it will not be responsible for more such misunderstandings.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            I agree. Either the press in the West is anti-Israel or they do not report on what is happening, for example the fires set in Israel that were shown to be deliberately set by Palestinian terrorists.

        • Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          I can’t prove it, but I do think the abstention was Obama’s way of saying “Fuck you” to Netanyahu on his way out the door.

          • Carl
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            Do you really think so? It seems like about the most unflattering spin to put on it – the president as childish, vindictive, and irresponsible. I’m not sure either way.

            • Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

              Well, Obama is human and Netanyahu did cross the line playing kissy-foot with the Republicans. Maybe eventually we will find out from Kerry.

          • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            I think it is deeper and worse. I disagree with those who explain Obama’s politics regarding Israel entirely through the prism of his personal relationship with Netanyahu. I remember his tour before his election in 2008, when he signaled Arabs that he would shift US policies to their favor. I think his upbringing has made him absorb views predominant in the Muslim world, including anti-Israeli ones. (Disclaimer: I do not think Obama is a Muslim. But I definitely think he is an Islamophile.)

      • KD33
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Well, the topic was the UN vote. There’s plenty to say about intransigence from both sides. I completely agree that accepting Israel’s right to exist is an essential point, and seemingly off in the distant future.

        But I am still hoping someone with deep knowledge and a counter view would weigh in. I’m sure John Kerry would have some nice words of wisdom, but he’s busy for a few more days.

    • Carl
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I really doubt if you are in the minority here. The forcefulness and thoroughness of the article and Prof. Coyne’s aegis are probably subduing many responses. A favorable article on Noam Chomsky’s views on this subject would have had the echo chamber booming.

      I salute what I take is a movement in how you see the situation, and encourage further open-mindedness.

      The term “Israeli intransigence” signals to me a failed understanding of the existential and day to day threat Israelis live under. Failure to recognize the intransigence on the other side is the problem. The long history of the conflict shows the Palestinians and their allies never miss a chance to miss a chance.

      • mikeyc
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        “The term “Israeli intransigence” signals to me a failed understanding of the existential and day to day threat Israelis live under.”

        Yes. I regret that I am definitely guilty of that. I’ve tried to learn what I can, but many competing time demands…blah blah blah.. No real excuse especially as I am life-long friends with whole families of American-Israelis. I really should listen to what they have to say.

        I think it’s a truism that if more people understood better what people everywhere face on a day to day basis, most conflicts would evaporate.

        • BJ
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          “I think it’s a truism that if more people understood better what people everywhere face on a day to day basis, most conflicts would evaporate.”

          An excellent sentiment indeed. As an American, I personally don’t know what it’s like to live under the constant threat of genocide every single day, with hundreds of millions of people and dozens of world governments actively and loudly wishing for my extermination.

          But we should ponder what it must be like, even if we can’t possibly understand.

          • Sarah
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            I agree that it is important to try to imagine what the Israelis have to live with. In Sderot you have 15 seconds to run to a bomb shelter when the siren goes. In some areas you would wonder if that car coming down the street is going to swerve and try to kill you. You would wonder if the person standing next to you at a bus stop was suddenly going to pull a knife and stab you. I know these things, but it is still hard to understand what it really *feels* like. And then think how it feels to find that the UN and numerous European countries are apparently on the side of those people trying to kill you! (I am not Israeli or Jewish, but all my sympathies are with Israel.)

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        The forcefulness and thoroughness of the article and Prof. Coyne’s aegis are probably subduing many responses.

        I’d ordinarily be glad to give a forceful rebuttal. (I’m a strong supporter of Israel, although certainly not in the Israel-is-never-wrong camp.) But I haven’t made up my mind on this issue yet (and I’m not well-versed enough in the underlying details to get down in the weeds on it, anyway).

        My initial impression is that the failure to veto the resolution was wrong. But that doesn’t make Bibi the good guy here; he’s bad for peace prospects. I think he sees the Palestinian issue almost exclusively through the lens of provincial Israeli politics, in terms of what’s good for him and the Likud party.

        I also think Trump will be horrible for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. I see his nomination of David Friedman to be the ambassador to Israel — a man who has described dovish Jews are “worse than kapos”(the Jews who collaborated with Nazi in the death camps) — as a big “fuck you” to peace prospects. In Trump’s simpleminded view, taking as hard a line as possible in support of Israel is a way to peel Jewish voters from the Democrats, as well as a way to placate the religious right, which sees a strong Israel as a pre-millennial opportunity to convert Jews to Christianity in advance of The Rapture. (I’m confident Trump underestimates the liberal Jewish electorate.)

        I agree with you that Malgorzata has set out the anti-veto position thoroughly and forcefully, although I find her recounting of the circumstances leading up to the UN resolution a bit tendentious. (But, hey, I like tendentiousness, as long as it doesn’t come garbed in false objectivity’s clothing.)

        I also don’t read Jerry’s providing Malgorzata this opportunity to make her case as his unqualified endorsement of everything she has to say, at least not expressly. But I suspect he will speak for himself on that matter.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:04 am | Permalink

          The first paragraph is a quote from Carl’s comment.

        • Carl
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:44 am | Permalink

          … the religious right, which sees a strong Israel as a pre-millennial opportunity to convert Jews to Christianity in advance of The Rapture.

          Now there is a fool’s errand. Ultra religious Jews are as unlikely to become Christian as any mullah running Iran. Most Israelis (along with most American Jews) are probably atheists – certainly the percentage is much higher than among the general U.S. population. And most of the rest seem to have a conception of God far removed from, say, the Pat Robertson version.

          As far as getting into the weeds – Malgorzata held back significantly. There is a long history where the Palestinian side was dealing not with Netanyahu, but with great statesmen like Rabin and Peres. And the Israeli who actually made a lasting peace with Egypt was Menachim Begin, who makes Netanyahu look like a cream puff. Draw your own conclusions about where the U.S. should put pressure.

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Israelis are intransigent in their obsession to live.

  12. Alex
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    According to the Red Cross, international law prohibits *any* transfer of civilians into occupied territory, not just forcible: https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/634kfc.htm

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      This is the original Article 49, Paragraph 6 of Geneva Convention, adopted 1958.
      “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
      The original intention of this paragraph was described by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1958: “This clause was adopted after some hesitation, by the XVIIth International Red Cross Conference (13). It is intended to prevent a practice adopted during the Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own population to occupied territory for political and racial reasons or in order, as they claimed, to colonize those territories. Such transfers worsened the economic situation of the native population and endangered their separate existence as a race.”
      Additional Protocols for the Geneva Conventions were drafted in 1977 and they elevated this violation of international law into a grave breach: “4. In addition to the grave breaches defined in the preceding paragraphs and in the Conventions, the following shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully and in violation of the Conventions or the Protocol:
      (a) the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Convention;”
      This was done with Israel – and only Israel in mind. But whatever the formulation it talks about “deportation” and “transfer” not about voluntary movements of people which is one of fundamental human rights. Israel, a democratic country, cannot forbid its citizens to move to Jerusalem or Ariel. Even according to Geneva Convention is not obliged to fight with its own citizens and to force them to stay where they are. The more so that nobody protests about many, many hundreds Arab-Israelis moving behind the Green Line. It would mean that you demand from Israel to check whether the family which bought a house in Ariel is Arab or Jewish. If it’s Jewish, you arrest them and force to stay where they are.

      • Alex
        Posted December 29, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        It’s one thing to not forbid its citizens to move here or there, but surely it’s another thing to provide subsidies for citizens who move to the settlements? I would think this at least violates the spirit of the law, which is that it’s unethical to use civilians to buttress a claim on disputed land.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted December 29, 2016 at 5:45 am | Permalink

          As far as I know an Arab-Israeli family moving to Ariel Maale Adumim or anywhere else (and there are plenty of such families) is entitled to the same subsidies as a Jewish family. However, both Palestinian Authority and International community never condemn (or even mention) the movement of Arab citizens of Israel. Moreover, international law cannot be applicable to just one state and one ethnic group in this state. Palestinian Authority and European Union are subsidising huge building projects in Area C (often without any planning or any other permission) and nobody is protesting. There is another thing and this is looking at Israel under the microscope in search of any infraction. In a situation when thousands of people are killed daily, when countries are at war, when people are starving, United Nations have time to discuss “violations of the spirit of the law”.

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    My Israeli friend would most likely question why Israel isn’t allowed to keep the territory they gained in war.

  14. colnago80
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    The issue here is, if Israel annexes the West Bank, what is to be done with the Arab inhabitants. The attitude of all too many Israelis is drive them out into the neighboring countries namely Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. If you don’t believe that, just take a gander at the talkbacks in the Israeli press advocating just that.

  15. Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there a good reason why such a resolution/law should not also apply to Cyprus, Tibet, and West Sahara?

    • Carl
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Or Ukraine, or Chechnya, or Northern Ireland, or the Falklands, or …

      The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

      • Posted December 28, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        So you are saying that modern ethics should apply to all these cases and to Israel as well?

        • Carl
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          I’m saying the U.N. is hypocritical not applying such a resolution to other situations with nearly the same circumstances. I don’t think it should have been applied to Israel.

          • Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            Isn’t this a form of the logical fallacy called, “Tu quoque”? Latin for, “you also”, or the appeal to hypocrisy. It is an informal logical fallacy that intends to discredit the validity of the opponent’s logical argument by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion(s).

            • Carl
              Posted December 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

              No, it is not tu quoque. It would be if I was arguing that because the U.N. doesn’t condemn all these other countries, it shouldn’t condemn Israel. That is not what I’m doing. I’m saying first and foremost it is wrong to condemn Israel. I’ve given my reasoning for that in several other comments here. I also point out the hypocrisy – an additional black mark on the U.N., in addition to it passing this resolution against Israel.

              • Posted December 29, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

                Because of your added initial specifications, your argument here would have to be stated: “Given that it is wrong for the UN to prosecute Israel, then such UN prosecutions should not proceed against Tibet, etc.” What the UN is actually doing may be a hypocrisy, but that is what is faulty about the tu quoque reasoning you are using here.

  16. Mike Savage
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Koreszawska’s analysis is entirely correct There is also the deeper intuition that this act….the declaration by the United nations, supposedly binding under international law, of the “illegality” of the residential settlements (many built on land purchased from Palestinian owners)is but the distant sound of the sharpening of the executioner’s knife, yet again.

    It is clear to me that the Israelis want to survive, and to prosper. More than that, they *intend* to survive, and to prosper. If they could survive by putting flowers into the barrels of their rifles and singing “kumbaya” at the Gaza border, they would do so. Unfortunately, they are aware that if many if not for most Palestinians could wake up one morning and eliminate every Israeli by nightfall, those Palestinians would call that “a good day’s work”. And the Israelis understand that this will be true for the forseeable future. They are determined to survive, and I support them in whatever meager way I can.

    This will likely play out as lawfare in various international tribunals and calls for economic boycotts of Israeli goods. I anticipate that Trump and his people will run rings around that, starting with a stronger US-Israeli trade regime undeterred by calls for boycotts.

  17. Tim Harris
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    I respect what Malgorzata Koraszewska has written, and her reasons for writing what she has, but I do recommend also reading an article written by David Horowitz in The Times of Israel, which is recommended by Josh Marshall on his thoughtful and responsible Talking Points Memo:

    “As Times of Israel Editor David Horovitz writes in another important article you should read on this topic, the vote laid bare what is obvious.
    ‘[T]he inconvenient truth is that while 14 nations supported Resolution 2334, and the US chose not to oppose it, those 14 are not all enemies of Israel, far from it, and the United States certainly isn’t. The Czech Republic and Panama might, just might, have voted no, or abstained, but basically the entire world rejects the legality of the settlement enterprise. And much of that world, as Netanyahu has in the recent past enthusiastically highlighted, either broadly supports Israel or is moving in that direction.'”

    I should also like to suggest that whatever the legality or illegality of settlements, forcing people out of their homes and livings creates enormous resentment.

    I should also add that I find the suggestion that Obama decided that the US should not veto the resolution in order to ‘pay back’ Netanyahu really rather contemptible. Trump is somebody who might ell behave like that, Obama surely is not.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I agree – there may be at play, other political constraints that Obama is bound by that made abstaining the best option in a bad set of choices.

    • Tim Harris
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      I should also add that the legality of some practice does not entail that is good, just or wise.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        that IT is good, etc

  18. Malgorzata
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    For many years I was an ardent supporter of two state solution. But during those years Palestinians refused offers of Olmert, Barak, Netanyahu… They showed quite clearly that any compromise Israelis were willing to make, however painful for them, was not enough. During those years Palestinian Authority which rules over some 90% of Palestinians on the West Bank was incapable of building a basis of a state. People there live in poverty, there is no industry to speak of, unemployment is huge, they even cannot produce their own electricity but get it from Israel (mostly without paying for it) – and all the while they are getting more money from the international community than any human group in need got any time in history. So how this place, with a very few millions people, landlocked, is to support itself and be governed when they are a sovereign state? And I didn’t even touch the subject of Gaza which everybody is dropping like a hot potatoe. So what is the solution given that Israelis cannot (and do not want) to rule over a huge, hostile Arab population? Well, in today’s situation of a total turmoil in the region a two states solution seems quite unrealistic. So why not start to think about other unrealistic solutions which in time might be less unrealistic? I’m thinking about Jordan. Jordan ruled over the whole West Bank for 19 years, annexed it to Jordan and gave Jordanian citizenship to its residents (which they later removed). Jordan was meant to be a part of Palestinian Mandate for Arab population of Palestine. At least half, if not a majority, of Jordan’s population are Palestinians. Why not engage Jordan again? Why not divide the West Bank (in negotiations between Israel, Jordan and representatives of Palestinians – though not Abbas, a “president” in his 11th year of a 4 years long term, who doesn’t represent anybody) and incorporate the part populated by most Palestinians (i.e. today’s Palestinian Authority) to Jordan while the rest (most of area C) incorporate into Israel? To me it doesn’t sound more crazy than to continue with the idea of the two state solution in the situation when the other state would with greatest probability be an Islamic state governed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS or any other combination of terrorists.

    • Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      My thoughts. About Gaza, I think a way must be found to sell it back to Egypt somehow.

    • VRandom
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Sure, let’s move the discussion here. So it seems your proposal is for Jordan to receive all the refugees and people and parts of the land while Israel just receives parts of the land. Why should Jordan agree to that? And in particular, you are advocating the idea of “one state solution where Israel gets parts of the lands but no people”. How is that solution more realistic than the two-state solution? It seems not only you need to convince Israelis, and Palestinians, but also a bunch of other countries.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        1. Jordan would not get any refugees. It would get a land and it’s inhabitants.
        2. The descendants of original 1948 refugees, living shamefully in refugee camps in which they, their parents and often even their grandparents were born, should’ve long ago got the citizenship in countries of their birth. It is high time to abolish UNRWA and resettle these people. There is no need for Jordan to take them. And if you think that this is horribly unjust because they should return to Israel, let me ask you: do you think that Syrian refugees in Europe and U.S. should be locked in refugee camps, deprived of rights and told to wait there until they will be able to return to Syria? And if not, why sentence Palestinians, generation after generation to such horrible fate?
        3. This solution is no more unrealistic as the two state solution and not because of Israeli settlements. Nobody ever managed to convince Palestinian Arabs that they should accept their own state at the side of the Jewish state, starting from the Peel Commission 1937 (not only no settlements existed but the State of Israel didn’t exist yet). They refused 1947, and they refused every offer by consecutive Israeli governments. So what makes you think that two state solution is a realistic prospect?
        4. This is not a novel idea. In Jordan there are people, among high ranking politicians as well (not to mention opposition) who are supporters of this idea. It was also discussed (and accepted by a few) among Palestinians.

        • VRandom
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          1. Why should Jordan agree to receive a disconnected piece of land with people in it, specially if it is going to be a headache to govern? I agree that Jordan has a lot to be blamed in this conflict but they let go of any of their claims (which were not even widely recognized anyways) long time ago. And now it seems there is really nothing in this deal (or piece of land) for them.

          2. You know that the refugee situation is more complicated than that simple analogy. In your analogy, I am pretty sure many countries will condemn Syria if it does not let the refugees to come back to where they escaped from.

          3. And the talking point that “it is only Palestinians who have refused peace deals” is a right-wing talking point that simplifies and ignores the very many complicated aspects of the negotiations and the deals. And yes, settlements make the whole thing more complicated and they make the two-state solution more complicated, the peace talks more complicated and they don’t do anything but to appease hardliners in Israel.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            1. Jordan, which shows such a concern for the fate of their Palestinian brothers, could show it in a more tangible way. It may also remember that it was created as a state for Palestinian Arabs, that at least half of its citizens are Palestinians, that residents of the West Bank are either former Jordanian citizens or descendants of the former Jordanian citizens and that it’s still a custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites and demands that its voice be heard as such by Jerusalem authorities. Not to mention the Black September 1970 when Jordan expelled a big group of Palestinians after killing many of them (estimates vary wildly from 1,000 to 25,000 killed).
            2. I do not think the situation of refugees is so much different. It now seems that the butcher Assad will retain power and I seriously doubt he would allow a return of people who swear they will fight against him after return – like Palestinian refugees from 1948 did (I mean, swearing they would fight and kill the Jews).
            3. Fact have a nasty habit to be facts, not right wing facts or left wing facts. Since 1937 Arabs answered “No” to every suggestion to divide the land between them and Jews. Jews had plenty complaints and reservations to these divisions as well, also starting from 1937, but they wanted an own state so badly that they accepted what was on offer. Obviously, Arabs do not want any own state equally badly. As I said: there were no settlements 1937, nor 1947, nor 1967, not even much to speak of 1973 so settlements couldn’t have been the reason Arabs attacked Israel and there was no peace.

            • VRandom
              Posted December 28, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

              1. So you really have no mechanism to force Jordan to accept this other than emotional blackmail. While I generally agree with your criticism of Jordan, this is not going to be a reasonable tactic in negotiations. Again, why should Jordan agree to this? I see no incentive, and no reason for Jordan accept a disconnected land that is going to be a headache to govern.

              2. In this case your analogy is self-defeating. If Assad does not allow the return of willing-to-return refugees, there will be justified international outcry. Do you mean that Israel is unjust in not allowing the refugees to return? I don’t think so which shows my previous claim that “Palestinian refugee problem is much more complicated than the Syrian refugee problem” still holds.

              And furthermore, you need to some evidence to back up the claim that Palestinian refugees swore to return and “kill the Jews” (was it a scientific poll or just some random stories?)

              3.I could turn this argument around and claim that Israel has turned down every Palestinian proposal for peace which has included “full right to return with compensation and, Jerusalem as the capital of Palestinian Nation”.

              I agree that Arafat should have taken the Camp David offer but even that proposal is not great at all from a Palestinian point of view.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 29, 2016 at 1:59 am | Permalink

                There is just River Jordan between Jordan and the West Bank. It is one of the smaller rivers of the world, much narrower than Wisla River which divides Polish capital, Warsaw. Nobody is saying that the two part of Warsaw are “disconnected”. Somehow Jordanian Arabs managed to cross this river twice without too much trouble while attacking Israel. They didn’t think it was ”disconnected” when they annexed it to Jordan – not to mention that the name itself is Jordanian. For millennia the territory was called Judea and Samaria. Jordanians came 1948, renamed it “West Bank” to erase its connection to Jews (like Romans two thousand years before them renamed the whole territory Syria-Palaestina) and now it is politically incorrect to call the place names it has had for practically all the history except for 19 years of illegal occupation by Jordan.
                And doing something they are not too happy about? I gave some arguments above why they should do it, if unwillingly. Ask Israel how many times it was forced to do things it was not only unhappy about but which directly threatened the country – see Hezbollah. (Until now the only thing Israel refused to do – and is met with stern condemnation for it – is to commit collective suicide.) You could also shame Jordan by reminding it about ethnic cleansing of Jews who lived all over Judea and Samaria, which they conducted very thoroughly so that not one Jew remained and their synagogues, holy places, houses were demolished. You could also remind them about their Arab Legion’s call to civilian population of the West Bank to escape and to give Jordanian military free hands in massacre the Jews.
                You’ve chosen to distort my analogy between Palestinian and Syrian refugees, which is your full right. I will try to straighten it again. Both group escaped during a war. (Of course, in the case of Palestinian Arabs the majority escaped urged by their own leaders. Some, who fought actively, were expelled by Israelis.) Both wars were taking many years. The state of war between Egypt and Israel ended 1979 (30 years after escape from Israel) and with Jordan 1994 (45 years after). There is still formally a state of war between Israel and Lebanon and Syria. The civil war in Syria is now coming into its seventh year and who knows how long it will continue. My question was: do you agree that Syrian refugees should be put into refugee camps, without possibility to settle in the country they escaped to, in hope of returning to Syria in future? This is what was done to Palestinian refugees. I do not have in front of me the poll results of the attitudes of those refugees to Israel in 1940s, 1950 and so on but they surely exist. But I’ve read contemporary journalistic reports, UN reports and I follow the educational system of UNRWA. The hostility was and is evident. And there is another problem: Israel in this time accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees both from Europe (those who survived the war, ghettos, death camps etc.) and from Arab countries (there were more Jewish refugees from Muslim countries than Arab refugees from Israel: some 800,000). Israel was in its full right not to allow a hostile Arab population back. But they did allow peaceful Arab refugees back. Ask George Deek, an Israeli diplomat who is a grandson of an Arab refugee allowed to return.
                On a personal note: I’ve been a refugee twice in my life, one time as a child I was war refugee and a second time as a young woman a political refugee. Both times I was taken in by a third country (Poland and Sweden, respectively) and absorbed to the surrounding society. Nobody expected me to languish in a refugee camp for the rest of my life in the hope of return. That’s why I find the fate of Palestinian refugees whom the world condemned to the role of a hostile weapon against Israel instead of giving them the possibility for a normal decent life, so absolutely shameful and scandalous. (There are no refugee camps in Israel. Israel absorbed all its refugees, gave them citizenship and life.) There are practically no Jews living in Arab world now (except Tunisia and Morocco). They were ethnically cleansed. 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs – not living in refugee camps without any rights but with full rights, equal with the rights of Jewish citizens of Israel.

  19. Peter
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Obama should have taken this position 8 years ago. Now it might be to late to get sense in the Israeli government.

  20. VRandom
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This post is misleading because it does not include the parts of the resolution that also condemns terror and Palestinian authority:

    “Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,

    And it misses that the solution also adds that stopping the settlement in the occupied parts is the only reasonable way for a two-state solution:
    Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;

    And a few points:

    1) Basically, the way I see it, you cannot argue for a two-state solution if you advocate building the settlements (i.e., towns and cities). If you think the two-state solution is compatible with building settlements, then I am curious to hear how.

    2) If you do not argue for the two-state solution, then obviously, you are arguing for a one Jewish state. Since Arab population is much larger than the Jewish population, that means you also are against having all these people of Arabic ethnicity who live in the occupied territories be given Israeli citizenship. If so, then what do you propose should happen to people who live there?
    2A) Live there as second-class citizens, e.g., no right to vote?
    2B) Forced to relocate to other countries (possibly of similar ethnicity)?
    2B’) What if no country wants to take them in? Will it be back to solution 2A?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      A few words of condemnation of terror do not constitute counterbalance of stating that Israel does not have right to Jewish Quarter and Western Wall in Jerusalem and will have to accept having 15 kilometers as its widths in a very heavily populated part of Israel. According to an Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Saba’a the words of condemnation were added (more or less on the demand of John Kerry during his meeting with Saed Erekat and Palestinian delegation in early December) to make the resolution acceptable for U.S. Both Palestinians and State Department deny this.

      About my stance on two state solution I wrote in the thread under #18.

    • Carl
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Basically, the way I see it, you cannot argue for a two-state solution if you advocate building the settlements (i.e., towns and cities). If you think the two-state solution is compatible with building settlements, then I am curious to hear how.

      How? You just have to know a little history. Israel was building settlements all over Sinai. Sadat was a true partner for peace and negotiated in good faith. An agreement was reached and peace has prevailed all these intervening years. Part of the agreement required Israelis to remove their Sinai settlements, which they did. The settlements were not an obstacle to reaching agreement. The missing piece is good faith on the Arab side. The American failure to veto the resolution makes this less likely. In fact, the failure to veto encourages more bad faith.

  21. Mike
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I used to support Israel, but in recent years there continual illegal Settlement Building based on spurious entries in the Old Testament
    creation myth is wrong,I fear for the Middle East and cannot see a resolution any time soon Also the UN is possibly the most feeble organisation on the Planet.

  22. Malgorzata
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Some people here wrote about the intensive building of Israeli settlements and blamed for it the Netanyahu’s right wing party. It is, maybe, worth mentioning that the building of settlements was started by Labour government of Levi Eshkol. It was continued by Itzhak Rabin (he followed the same plan, called Allon Plan). Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    “At the presentation of the Oslo II Accord on 5 October 1995 in the Knesset, PM Yitzhak Rabin expounded the Israeli settlement policy in connection with the permanent solution to the conflict. Israel wanted “a Palestinian entity, less than a state, which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”. It wanted to keep settlements beyond the Green Line including Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem. Blocs of settlements should be established in the West Bank. Rabin promised not to return to the 4 June 1967 lines.”

    So it’s not a „right-wing policy of an intransigent Netanyahu” but it was a policy of consecutive Israeli governments, inclusive the icon of so called „peace camp”, Itzhak Rabin.

    Some statistics from Wikipedia:
    “At the end of 2010, 534,224 Jewish Israeli lived in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 314,132 of them lived in the 121 authorised settlements and 102 unauthorised settlement outposts on the West Bank, 198,629 were living in East Jerusalem, and almost 20,000 lived in settlements in the Golan Heights.
    In 2011, 328,423 Israeli Jews were living on the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, and the Jewish population in the Golan Heights exceeded 20,000.[54]
    For the year 2012, the Jewish population in the West Bank settlements excluding East Jerusalem was expected to rise to 350,000.[75]
    In May 2014, the Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, put the settler population at up to 750,000: 400,000 in the West Bank and up to 350,000 in East Jerusalem.”

    The area the settlements are on is still under 2% of the West Bank , more or less the same it was when Yasser Arafat negotiated Oslo Accords – somehow it wasn’t an obstacle to negotiations for Arafat. It wasn’t an obstacle for negotiation for Abbas either until President Obama for the first time said that the settlements were an obstacle. After that no Palestinian leader could say anything less.
    Israel even expressed willingness to dismantle some of the outposts, but not the five blocks closest to the border. And no Israeli (possibly with the exception of members of the Communist party Meretz) is willing to divide Jerusalem – a many thousand years old town which was divided only once in its history: during 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation, and from which Jewish population was violently ethnically cleansed.

    • johnw
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      I think you’re wrong about Obama, and I think I was too. Obama’s position has been what the centrist consensus has been on Israel/Palestine for awhile. But that will now become perceived as the radical left with Trump/Friedman/Kushner taking over.

      And btw: PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: “But there is a road map, there is a process, and we’ve all agreed to it. And part of that process is no expansion of settlements. I’ve been very clear about Israel has an obligation under the road map. That’s no expansion of settlements. I look forward to continuing to work and dialogue with Israel on this subject.”

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        My current view is this. Trump will soon be president and he will roll over for Putin. Everything so far indicates that. He will also rollover for Israel. Everything so far says that.

        So Trump…good luck with that plan and luck also with getting volunteers to fight your wars to come. Based on the behavior of Trump, of Russia and of Israel, it would be a cold day in hell when I volunteer for that.

        • somer
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          On Morning Joe hilarious cartoon about this “To Putin, Trump is perfect”

          https://twitter.com/ [to stop embed so delete this bit to see]
          JOE_co_uk/status/809110721384431617

  23. Tim Harris
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    There is an article at Foreign Policy (fp@foreignpolicy.com) that is, I think worth reading. It is entitled “The Last Act of Obama’s Israel Drama May Be His Best”, and it is by David Rothkopf, who is a professor of international relations, a political scientist, and a journalist; he has held responsible positions in the US government and worked at one time for Kissinger Associates. I quote the opening:

    “The Israeli government’s settlement policy puts it on the wrong side of history, justice, demography, the law, its own interests — and therefore the interests of its friends and allies. For each of these reasons, Israel should neither be surprised nor outraged at the recent U.N. Security Council resolution condemning those settlements. Nor should they be offended by the U.S. government’s policy with respect to that vote, a policy that was well-articulated and defended by Secretary of State John Kerry in an address Wednesday.
    “The Obama administration’s abstention, which enabled that resolution to pass, should for the same reasons not be seen as a betrayal. Indeed, as a friend of Israel, the United States should have gone further and actively supported Resolution 2334, which passed with 14 votes in favor and just Washington abstaining. The settlements are hurting Israel, and true friends have the courage to tell each other what they need to hear, even when they don’t want to hear it.”

    Later Rothkopf writes: “…what the administration did with regard to Resolution 2334 was sound and good policy.”

    • Carl
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      The settlements are hurting Israel, and true friends have the courage to tell each other what they need to hear, even when they don’t want to hear it.

      A true friend would do the telling in private, not orchestrate a public betrayal like this. The Obama administration couldn’t agree with Israel, fine. America should defer and support Israel when Israel’s interests are more clearly at stake. That’s what a friend does.

    • Carl
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Html correction:

      The settlements are hurting Israel, and true friends have the courage to tell each other what they need to hear, even when they don’t want to hear it.

      A true friend would do the telling in private, not orchestrate a public betrayal like this. The Obama administration couldn’t agree with Israel, fine. America should defer and support Israel when Israel’s interests are more clearly at stake. That’s what a friend does.

  24. Tim Harris
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    They have of course told the present Israeli government in private, but to no avail. I suggest you take up the matter with David Rothkopf. I am, I am afraid, neither interested in, nor impressed by, an indulgent and ready fervour.

  25. Posted December 31, 2016 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Malgorzata is exactly right.

    In my opinion, the “Two State Solution” occurred when the Brits turned 70% of the land over to a Hashemite family to rule over local Arabs not of their tribe. Thus was created the modern country of Jordan.

    The Colonizing Brits at least pretended to try to avert territorial wars by dividing along cultural (religious) lines the colonies they left. Hindustan was divided into Hindu India, Muslim Pakistan and more in 1947, the year before Israel was recognized. The UN doesn’t seem nearly as concerned about the constantly simmering war between those two nuclear-weapons owning nations.

    Where similar slicing was done in the middle east, the Jews refused to die or leave their land, and the underdog of the Arab-Israeli Conflict is now historically rewritten as the aggressor of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Yassir Arafat actually usurped the word “Palestinian”, as it had previously (including in Mark Twain’s time and writings) referred to non-Muslims of the area under Turkish and then British control.


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