Powered by WebAds

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Betrayal: US to support Security Council condemnation of Israel

Among the quips of New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, perhaps the most famous is "it ain't over 'til it's over." The other day, it looked like it really was over for a UN Security Council condemnation of Israeli 'settlement' building. But following up on its betrayal of Egypt, the Obama administration has now decided to betray Israel for good measure. And given that the vote could take place as soon as Thursday night, it really might be over.
The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. The Palestinian delegation, along with Lebanon, the Security Council's only Arab member state, have asked the council's president this evening to schedule a meeting for Friday. But it remained unclear whether the Palestinian move today to reject the U.S. offer is simply a negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from Washington.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the new U.S. offer in a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Arab Group, a bloc of Arab countries from North Africa and the Middle East. In exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N. Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel's settlement policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.

The U.S.-backed draft statement -- which was first reported by Al Hurra -- was obtained by Turtle Bay. In it, the Security Council "expresses its strong opposition to any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community, and reaffirms, that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a serious obstacle to the peace process." The statement also condemns "all forms of violence, including rocket fire from Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples."

U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal. The Arab Group was scheduled to meet this afternoon to formulate a formal response to the American offer. Council diplomats said that the discussions were fluid and that there was still the possibility that the U.S. draft would be subject to further negotiations. They said it was also not yet certain that the U.S. offer would satisfy the Arab Group, and that the U.S. may be forced to veto the Palestinian resolution.
I suppose that one could argue that there are some sticks in this proposal for the Arab side too. After all, the proposed statement says that it doesn't accept unilateral action by any party (which would presumably come out against the unilateral declaration of a 'Palestinian state'), it only relates to "continued Israeli settlement activity" (and doesn't declare all the 'settlements' illegal as the 'Palestinians' wanted) and it condemns all forms of violence "including rocket fire from Gaza."

But all of that is legalistic parsing, and the clear implication of this resolution statement would be that the US is abandoning Israel. Omri Ceren says that's natural in light of the way that the Obama administration handled Egypt.
In a way, this is a natural follow-up to the administration’s bumbling in Egypt, where they managed to alienate all parties in the Middle East except the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, and Iran’s assorted proxies. This gesture won’t win us any lasting goodwill from Arab elites. WikiLeaks showed that they care far more about geopolitical stability than they do about the settlements, such that the spectacle of the White House abandoning a second ally for the second week in a row would be met with worried chagrin, regardless of what they say out loud.

More to the point, and by now out of genuine curiosity: who exactly does the Obama administration envision having as a Middle East ally, say, six months from now? Strategic administration leaks about the Egypt crisis have already signaled a renewed chill in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. U.S. backing for a UN resolution wouldn’t detonate the alliance — military-to-military ties are too strong for that — but it would be the end of cooperation between this White House and this Israeli government, a government that a militarily and now diplomatically besieged Israeli public would rally behind.

And that’s before we get to how our UN mission, representing the world’s only hyperpower, seems to believe that “bargaining” means “getting progressively closer to the other side’s position.” We’re negotiating with the likes of Libya and the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon over whether we should protect one of our last Middle East allies against a biased UN lynch mob.
On Wednesday night, a couple of hours before this report broke, an Israeli Radio commentator expressed amazement that with all that's going on in the Arab world today, the Arabs are still aggressively pursuing this resolution. After watching what has happened in Egypt, my sense is that the Wikileaks disclosures to which Omri referred reflected the views of the elites and not those of the Arabs on the street. The Arabs may be trying to save their regimes by distracting them with Israel big time. The US is apparently willing to help them out, even at the expense of throwing its most loyal ally under the bus. And the Europeans, as always, are cheering them on.

Maybe the US is hoping the 'Palestinians' will once again not miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity by saying that the Council statement isn't good enough?

What could go wrong?

Labels: , , , , ,


At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O triangulates for a friend after all; an arm and a leg are demanded; he helpfully asks you to compromise at the left kneecap and your right hand.

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next up, Dennis Ross delivers address to J-Street announcing White House co-sponsorship of their upcoming Birthright Tour to Germany, Poland, wherever.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
I'm not surprised at all,i've always said he would turn against Israel.This said it's only the beginning of his betrayal of Israel expect a lot more from "They don't trust me because of my middle name".

At 11:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Abandoning Israel is not going to impress America's few remaining Arab friends.

And a Security Council statement doesn't have the operative force of a resolution which is why the Palestinians rejected it.

The good news is the US is going to veto their resolution because if it doesn't, the already moribund Middle East peace process will be buried for good.

At 3:03 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Israel needs to announce it's undertaking a year long strategic review of its aid package with the US including abandoning the F-35 program and agreeing to a smaller package in exchange for dropping the 75% requirement that it must be spent in the US. Israel also needs to announce that it's reviewing the process for constructing a timeline that will coincide with the end of all US aid.


Post a Comment

<< Home