Friday, February 18, 2011

What I Think of the US Veto of the UN Security Council "Draft" Resolution

Statement on the USA Veto of a UN Security Council Draft Declaring the Israeli Settlement “Illegal” on West Bank Territory. February 18, 2011

John R. Kleinheksel Sr.

The Palestinians refused to let the US off the hook. It wanted the US to vote our convictions about Israeli settlements or prove to be hypocritical. We chose to be hypocritical, saying we were opposed to the settlements, but not allowing the UN Security Council to “intervene with binding resolutions on issues [the US] feels belongs to direct peace talks” (Reuters report). As though only the US can be involved with efforts to bring about “negotiations” between the parties, not the UN. Not the UN? How can you keep the UN from becoming involved in an issue that has festered for 62 years?

The truth of the matter is that the “negotiations” have been a sham. Whenever the Israelis and Palestinians “negotiate”, the Israelis concede nothing and the Palestinians are expected to concede everything: 1) such as, stop opposing Israeli confiscation of land for more settlements; 2) stop resistance to the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes; 3) go on record declaring the legitimacy of Israeli efforts to take over the whole of the land as a “Jewish democracy” (while accusing the Palestinians of wanting to “drive them into the sea”).

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the draft “risks hardening the position of both sides” but in fact it only hardens the Israeli position that it need do nothing different in dealing with the Palestinians. It need only do more of the same. Give nothing. Concede nothing. Keep pressing for meaningless “negotiations” (talk, talk, talk) while continuing to build “facts on the ground” and the Palestinians come away empty handed.

The US wants it both ways. We want to support Israel and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for dignity, their own land (statehood). Guess what? We just may have to stand against Israel policies that are preventing Palestinians from attaining their goals. But we can’t do it. The political implications are too daunting. We may no longer be a “friend of Israel”. The President might lose his job come 2012. And that would not be acceptable now would it? Who is in charge of US Middle East foreign policy, the United States or Israel? It should now be clear to any with eyes wide open.

Ending the settlement activity is not a “precondition” for talks, as Israel insists. Ending settlement activity would be a sign of a “good faith” environment where talks could get down to business and make the moves required for a “two-state” solution. Israel wants a “one-state” solution where she is making all the decisions and Palestinians make none to their advantage.

The settlements ARE “illegal under international law” as the binding resolution would declare. The US was not able to put it its vote where its mouth is. It was sad day for US policy in the Middle East.

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