TEL AVIV — President Barack Obama set the tone for his future attitude toward Israel during his infamous June 4, 2009, speech at Cairo University, where he claimed the Palestinians suffer “daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation,” and referred to Palestinian terrorism as “resistance through violence and killing.”
Obama would go on to warm to the anti-Israel, anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt; repeatedly single out Israeli settlement activity for criticism; and ink a nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, an agreement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as a threat to Israel’s security.
On Friday, as Israelis marked the Sabbath here in the Jewish state, Obama stuck it to Israel, perhaps one final time, when the U.S. abstained from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a halt to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, thereby allowing the measure to pass.
The move was a dramatic departure from the longstanding U.S. policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.
And make no mistake about it. This was an anti-Israel resolution.
The text of the resolution repeatedly and wrongly refers to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.” This fraudulent language technically places the Western Wall and Temple Mount plaza under the “Palestinian territory” qualification.
In actuality, the Palestinians never had a state in either the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, and they are not legally recognized as the undisputed authority in those areas.
Jordan occupied and annexed the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem from 1948 until Israel captured the lands in a defensive war in 1967 after Arab countries used the territories to launch attacks against the Jewish state. In 1988 Jordan officially renounced its claims to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
The text of the resolution declares that the Israeli settlement enterprise 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.”
It calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
As I pointed out earlier this week, and numerous times in the past, existing international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal.
What Obama has done by refusing to veto a resolution calling for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” is set the stage for an enhancement of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world.
Indeed, the BDS campaign will now be placed on steroids, since the anti-Semitic campaign can point to the resolution as so-called evidence that products made in the settlements were produced in “illegal territories.”
The resolution also usurps U.S. policy toward Israeli settlements weeks before Donald Trump is slated to be sworn into office.
The UN measure entirely contradicts a Bush administration commitment to allow some existing Jewish settlements to remain under a future Israeli-Palestinian deal. As I documented earlier this week, that U.S. commitment, which the Obama administration has repeatedly violated by condemning settlement activity, was reportedly a key element in Israel’s decision to unilaterally evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005.
While couched in diplomatic language of “Israeli settlement activity,” the resolution basically exclaims that Jews building in settlements is an impediment to peace, implying that a future Palestinian state must be Jew-free.
The text expresses “grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.”
Here is my take to that part of the text, expressed in the analysis piece earlier this week:
What exactly is the problem with Jews building communities 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.
The UN draft resolution text does not even mention 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. The illegal Palestinian construction has created “facts on the ground” due to which these areas are largely considered to be areas that would become part of a future Palestinian state.
The entire resolution is not necessary to advance a Palestinian state and can only be seen as a diplomatic assault on Israel. The measure singles out Israeli settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as the main obstacles blocking a two-state solution, farcically ignoring that the PA has repeatedly refused Israeli offers of a state in those very areas.
If the Palestinians wanted a state, they would not have to resort to introducing 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.
The PA has 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.
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.