Israel’s Illegal Settlements: The US Goes Rogue At The UN

On Friday, the United States stood alone and vetoed an Arab resolution at the United Nations Security Council. The resolution strongly condemned Israeli illegal settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “major obstacle to peace”. All 14 other members of the UN Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.

The United States veto at the UN was the first one exercised by the Obama administration. The decision will unquestionably anger Arab peoples across the Middle-East at a time of deep and rapid political changes in the region. It could have disastrous consequences for America’s credibility in the Arab world, and will further increase Israel’s isolation in the international community. The resolution, sponsored by more than 130 countries, declared that “Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories were illegal and a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”.

The veto vote is a proof that the Obama administration, despite its claims of the contrary, doesn’t understand the geopolitical tectonic shift at play in what will soon be the new reality of the Middle-East. As free Arab nations emerge from dictatorship, they will work together and put all their weight behind the legitimate claims of the oppressed  Palestinian people. Needless to say, the Obama administration was under pressure from Israel and the US Congress where the hard-line pro-Israel lobby AIPAC acts as a king-maker and calls the shots on America’s Middle-East policy. Of course, prime minister Netanyahu welcomed the US veto.

US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, couldn’t really argue the US veto vote in a rational way. In a blatant contradiction, while stating it opposed new settlements, the Obama administration argued that taking the issue to the UN would only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two state peace solution. Rice explained the decision of the veto vote by stating that the decision should not be misunderstood as support for settlements activity.

“We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace. Every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: Will it moves the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement? Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions on both sides,” stated US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.

Meanwhile, in President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2012, the US military aid for Israel will increase by $75 million compared to fiscal year 2011. Despite deep budget cuts for social and education programs for domestic policy, the 2012 budget will allocate $3.075 billion in military aid for Israel. The military aid allocation is expected to reach $3.1 billion for fiscal year 2013. According to AIPAC, President Obama, in reference to the “special relationship” between Israel and the US, said: “The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. It encompasses our national interests, our strategic interests, but most importantly, the bond of two democracies who share a common set of values.”

But what are the national and strategic US interests in this new Middle-East getting reshaped by the Arab revolution? It is certainly not to antagonize what could quickly become a pan-Arabic group of nations. However, it is exactly what the Obama administration did by casting this veto vote. Further, what are the “common set of values” defined by President Obama’s pledge of allegiance to Israel and  the dysfunctional “special relationship”? Is it an unconditional support of the policy of apartheid and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Israel in the West Bank or Israel’s war crimes in Gaza? The policies in question are certainly not “common democratic values” unless one view segregation, such as the one practiced in the US before the civil rights movement, as democratic. The Arab world doesn’t view the United States as a legitimate arbitrator in the Middle-East peace negotiation process for one reason alone: How can you pretend to be a referee while  proudly wearing the jersey of one of the team?


8 Responses to Israel’s Illegal Settlements: The US Goes Rogue At The UN

  1. J.J. Surbeck February 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Just because a pack of hyenas says that the settlements are illegal doesn’t make it so, because in fact they are not. Israel has the right to annex the entire West Bank if it wants to since its seizing of that territory resulted from a war of aggression launched by the Arabs. The real obstacle to peace is the refusal of the Palestinians to sit down for real negotiations and ink a peace treaty that would delineate the borders for good. Until then, we only have cease-fire lines. There is no such thing as “the 1967 borders” (and there is also no such thing as a “Right of Return”). The pack of hyenas at the UN have not done their homework and have not studied international law. They should know better. So for once, the Obama administration did the right thing by vetoing this inaccurate resolution. And if you think that it’s going to cause the Arab world to hate America more than it already does, wake up! No matter what the US does, the Arab world will hate us as much as they hate Israel. Therefore, there is no need to try to accommodate them in the vain hope that they will like us more. They won’t.

    • Trevor Long February 23, 2011 at 2:12 am

      1. Israel launched the attack in 1967 NOT the arabs (Does that mean that Israel has no right to exist?)
      2. Israel promised the “Right of Return” as a condition to be accepted into the United Nations. Israel later ignored their promise once they were made members of the U.N. (note that the “Right of Return” is a promise made even earlier to Arabs by Israel. Arabs that were rounded up and forced out of their villages by Israel shortly before their villages were razed to the ground by Israeli bulldozers…over 95% of existing arab villages were razed to the ground and the Arab residents moved into refugee camps across Israel borders).
      3. Israel is such an insignificant little Coutry….one has to wonder why it has such a large footprint and is allowed to carry on its illegal activities against the Palestinians, crimes against humanity.

    • Ewen Allison February 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      The fact that Israel has not annexed the Occupied Territories means that Israel is bound by the law of war to refrain from doing certain things, and those prohibitions will remain in legal force unless and until the territory is annexed.

      The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which Israel has ratified, forbids each High Contracting Party from moving its population into occupied territory of another High Contracting Party. In the past, Israel has claimed, rightfully as a matter of legal technicalities, that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are not territory of any High Contracting Party. Of course, this violates the spirit of that Convention. Moreover, Ted Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli foreign ministry at the time of the 1967 war, warned that settlements violated the Fourth Geneva Convention. Indeed, an IDF order in 1967 said that Convention applied, only to be rescinded. Moreover,the Israeli high court agrees that the Fourth Geneva Convention has achieved status of customary international and is therefore binding with respect to the Occupied territories. This business about the law of conquest amounting to a carte blanche is overtaken by just about every legal authority with any standing to rule on the matter.
      Ewen Allison
      (202) 744-1786
      243 34th Street, N.E.
      Washington, DC 20019

      • Gilbert Mercier
        Gilbert Mercier February 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

        Dear Ewen,

        Thank you so much for making such accurate international legal points here. It is not in the long term (or even medium term) interest of Israelis to let the Netanyahu administration behave like the Jewish state is above international laws. In regard to the US veto vote at the UN, it was highly criticized by Jewish organizations in the United States such as J Street. But, unfortunately what some American Jews still fail to realize in that AIPAC speaks on the behalf of Likud’s hardliners. In Israel itself the critics against Netanyahu are on the rise, as some people view his policies as shortsighted, irrational, harmful to the Jewish state and potentially suicidal.

  2. a true AMERICAN February 21, 2011 at 3:53 am

    AS an American I am very disgusted and ashamed of my U.S government. Israel is a cancer in everyones side, including the American taxpayer. AIPAC, a pro-Israel entity that does not serve the American’s needs.. is a spy agency that should be arrested and tried along with our government who support this. I truly understand why Hitler did and felt the way he did… I’m not saying I agree, but I truly understand now. Remember the USS Liberty and the hyenas whom murdered, lied and got away with it.. including our own government.

  3. VA February 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    As soon as one starts calling other adults ‘hyenas’ credibility goes out the window. No one’s listening to you after that.

  4. ecommerce developers February 24, 2011 at 3:58 am

    This is really very bad to know it, I think it was really a bad time for them, US government has to be penalized and ashamed for this, they shouldn’t do it like this,

  5. Mo Maghari February 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    The truth can be very painfull. venerable Senator J. William Fulbright told CBS Face the Nation on April 15, 1973, “Israel controls the U.S. Senate. The Senate is subservient, much too much; we should be more concerned about U.S. interests rather than doing the bidding of Israel. The great majority of the Senate of the U.S. – somewhere around 80% – is completely in support of Israel; anything Israel wants; Israel gets. This has been demonstrated time and again, and this has made [foreign policy] difficult for our government.”
    On October 3, 2001, I.A.P. News reported that according to Israel Radio (in Hebrew) Kol Yisrael an acrimonious argument erupted during the Israeli cabinet weekly session last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and “turn the US against us. “Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying “don’t worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America.”
    So why are we shocked when the US executes Israel’s demands even when they do not serve the US interests.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login