TEL AVIV – There have been numerous reports about the possibility that the Obama administration may support unilateral action at the United Nations Security Council regarding a Palestinian state or resolutions targeting Jewish communities in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Speaking to the Saban Forum in Washington over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry notably refused to confirm that the U.S. would veto a UN resolution intended to set guidelines for the establishment of a Palestinian state, allowing only that the Obama administration would veto a resolution “if it is a biased, unfair resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel.”
Congress last month issued a nonbinding resolution opposing UN action, instead highlighting the importance of direct negotiations between the parties.
Here are five basic reasons unilateral UN action would be a disaster for Israel and would strengthen the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state while rewarding Palestinian support for terrorism.
1 – The Palestinians would be rewarded for refusing direct negotiations with Israel.
The same PA that now seeks to unilaterally impose a solution at the UN failed to respond to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including freezing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and releasing Palestinian prisoners.
If the PA wanted a state, Palestinian leaders would at least respond to Netanyahu’s open-ended willingness to begin talks instead of repeatedly refusing to come to the bargaining table. UN action would send a message to the Palestinians that they can get away with refusing to negotiate with the Jewish state and still target Israel unilaterally at the UN.
2 – The Palestinians would be rewarded for refusing multiple Israeli offers of a state.
Once again, if the Palestinians wanted a state, they would not have to resort to anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. Israel has offered the Palestinians a state in much of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a shared capital in Jerusalem numerous times. These offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and more offers were made in 2008. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers.
3 – Any UN condemnation of settlements would support the anti-Semitic Palestinian position that a future state must be ethnically cleansed of all Jews.
What exactly is the problem with Jews living in the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, areas with deep historical and religious significance to Judaism? Condemning Jewish construction in these areas would seem to support Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ extremist position that not a single Israeli can live in a future Palestinian state. “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,’ Abbas said.
Interestingly, there is no talk about the international community condemning rampant illegal Palestinian construction on Jewish-owned property in eastern sections of Jerusalem, including the construction of dozens of apartment buildings on about 270 acres in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev, and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat. The land is indisputably owned by a U.S.-based Jewish group.
4 – Israel’s West Bank and eastern Jerusalem Jewish communities are not illegal.
Firstly, the singular focus on settlement activity leaves out the intent of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the only binding resolution pertaining to the West Bank, which calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution “from territories occupied” as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from “all territories,” a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel’s ability to retain some territory for security purposes under a future deal.
The Jewish Virtual Library explains:
The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from “all the” territories occupied after the Six-Day War. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant “that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands.” The Arab states pushed for the word “all” to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word “all.” The British ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: “It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear.”
Also, as the Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) pointed out in an email blast, international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal:
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no “partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,” as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers, and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can’t prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them.
5 – UN action would reward Palestinian support for terrorism.
While refusing to come to the bargaining table and turning down numerous Israeli offers of a state, the PA continues to pay the salaries of Palestinian terrorists and their family members. This while the PA’s official media and education arms promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and incite Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israel. The PA has named institutions, streets, and cultural centers after Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Israelis.
UN action would prove to the PA that they will face no consequences for their support of terrorism; indeed, it will reward this dangerous behavior.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.