New York, NY — Speaking here at a press conference outside United Nations headquarters, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton cautioned the Obama administration against supporting unilateral UN action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his final weeks in office.
Aaron Klein, Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief, also participated in the event, where he warned unilateral UN declarations could potentially damage the Middle East peace process and cause significant harm to Israel.
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“For 50 years we have had a bipartisan foreign policy in this country that ultimately peace and security in the Middle East has to come from an agreement of all the parties,” stated Bolton. “We’ve got a president here who sadly has the worst governmental-to-governmental relationship with the State of Israel since the modern state was created in 1948. Right now, we have a president in the post-election period who could take steps that violate this 50 years bipartisan agreement that it is not for the United States or anyone else to impose what the final peace terms will be between Israel and the other parties in the Middle East.”
Klein explained, “As you might have heard, President Obama is possibly considering, and there is a lot of information that this is very serious, some sort of unilateral UN resolution to either declare a Palestinian state and/or to set a timetable to create a Palestinian state, or condemn the settlements, aka the Jewish communities of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Clearly this is a diplomatic assault.”
Bolton encouraged Obama to continue following U.S. policy towards Israel by vetoing any anti-Israel resolutions or movements to impose parameters on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
“Voting for any of these resolutions is something we urge the president not to undertake,” Bolton said. “We want to underline here today and alert people to the threat we are facing and urge everybody who values the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, who values U.S-Israel relations and the importance of peace and security in that critical region of the world, to let President Obama know we want him to uphold 50 years of bipartisan foreign policy and not deviate from it in the closing days of his administration.”
The press conference was organized by the OJ Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Division and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Other speakers included ZOA President Morton Klein, OJ Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Dr. Joseph Frager, and Duvi Honig, the OJ Chamber’s founder and chief executive officer. The press conference was organized in part by the OJ Chamber’s Odeleya Jacobs and the chamber’s operations director, Devorah Wahl.
Honig urged Obama “not to be fooled by the intentions of the UN,” saying anti-Israel actions at the UN body are “driven by anti-Semitic hate packaged as candy.”
Frager explained the press conference was called to protect the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and to warn against UN intentions in the coming weeks.
The ZOA’s Mort Klein warned there was a “real basis for fear” that the UN will attempt to harm Israel with unilateral declarations.
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly been lobbying President Obama not to veto a potential UN resolution regarding the creation of a Palestinian state or criticism of Israel’s settlements that could be introduced some time early next month before President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.
Speaking to the Saban Forum in Washington earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry 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.
The last time the UN Security Council passed a resolution that was critical of Israeli settlements was in 1980 just before President Jimmy Carter left office. Recently, President Carter has written an op-ed in the New York Times calling on President Obama not to veto a pro-Palestinian UN resolution and to facilitate unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.
Meanwhile, during the Q&A segment of the press conference, when asked by this reporter how Egypt can play a role with the incoming Trump administration regarding future engagement in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Bolton responded that he believes a lot of “repair work diplomatically” is needed for the U.S. to be a force for some stability in the region.
“Well, I think we’ve seen such a deterioration in U.S.- Egyptian relations since the Arab spring that there’s a lot of repair work diplomatically that needs to be done and I think that General El-Sisi has reaffirmed his support for the Camp David agreement, which the Muslim Brotherhood had rejected, but the conduct of our policy over the past seven years, really, has left almost all segments of the Egyptian population distrustful of the United States,” Bolton said. “It has left governments in other Arab countries wondering whether they can count on the United States. Our credibility has suffered here and I think repairing the damage that’s been done so that the United States can be a force for stability in the region is something that should be really an urgent priority in the new administration.”