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Former Amb. Michael Oren blasts UN vote

Posted by Tip Staff - December 29, 2016


The passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution last week denouncing Israeli presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines will make Middle East peace “ever more remote,” former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote Wednesday in Newsweek. 
Oren, currently a member of Knesset and deputy minister for Israeli diplomacy, observed that the resolution caused “unprecedented” damage and poses “clear” dangers to Israel.
“The resolution means the Western Wall and other places sacred to Jews for 3,000 years are considered as illegally occupied,” Oren noted. It labels some 600,000 Israelis living in areas captured by Israel during a defensive war in 1967 as “flagrant violators of international law,” opening Israel to the risk of prosecution by the International Criminal Court and bolstering boycott efforts.
However, the resolution also presents risks for the Palestinians, the wider Middle East, and American credibility, Oren argued.
Over the past eight years Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to discuss peace with the Palestinians without preconditions. “But if America and the U.N. are already ganging up on Israel, what incentive will the Palestinians have to negotiate?” Oren asked. “Rather, they will continue to follow Abbas’s plan to avoid talks while delegitimizing Israel in world forums,” and therefore “remain stateless.”
The resolution, which passed on account of an abstention by the Obama administration, also hurts American credibility. The failure to the block the resolution reverses “longstanding U.S. policy that rejected any alternative—especially from the U.N.—to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Oren observed. This, in turn, casts serious doubts on American security commitments to its allies. “By abstaining from voting on the resolution, in effect abandoning its only democratic Middle Eastern ally, the U.S. has called into question its dependability to its other friends,” Oren noted.


High-ranking members of the Democratic Party, who have in the past week harshly criticized the Obama administration for its refusal to veto an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Security Council, doubled down on their criticisms after hearing Secretary of State John Kerry’s Wednesday speech criticizing Israeli settlement activity. 
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.), who will be the Senate Minority Leader when the chamber’s new term is inaugurated next week, warned that the speech, as well as the Obama administration’s abstention on the UN vote, “has emboldened extremists on both sides.”
Like Schumer, Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had urged the administration to veto the resolution, which he said “does nothing to move forward the shared goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.” Cardin said after Kerry’s speech that he would “explore congressional action that can mitigate the negative implications” of the abstention.
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D – N.Y.), Cardin’s counterpart on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, characterized Kerry’s speech as both “gratuitous” and “wrong.” “There doesn’t seem any purpose to this other than to embarrass Israel,” Engel stated. “It just pained me to watch it.”
Other Democratic members of Congress who criticized the UN resolution included Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Bob Casey (D–Pa.), and Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).


Lebanon’s parliament on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to approve a national unity government, which includes representatives of the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
Lawmakers voted 87 in favor, four against and one abstention, to approve Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s cabinet. He had presented the 30-member cabinet earlier this month, having been asked to form a government by President Michel Aoun, who was elected several weeks previously.
Under long-standing agreements, Lebanon’s positions of power are divided to reflect the country’s complex ethnic mix – the president must be a Maronite Christian, its Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and parliament’s speaker a Shi’ite Muslim.
Hariri’s government also incorporates a wide cross-section of Lebanon’s political and ethnic spectrum, including two members of Hezbollah, the Shi’ite group classified a terror organisation by the United States. Hezbollah’s military wing appears on the European Union and British list of terror organisations.
Hezbollah’s inclusion within Hariri’s cabinet will likely strengthen Israel’s assertion that in any future conflict with Hezbollah, Lebanon’s government will be held responsible. As far back as 2014, Israeli ministers warned that Lebanon’s government has a duty to prevent attacks from its territory.

Dermatologists have two options for improving the appearance of skin marred by scars and wrinkles: energy-based devices using laser, radio frequency or ultrasound; and injectable compounds like hyaluronic acid and Botox. A novel skin rejuvenating product from Israel, EnerJet (Airgent in the United States), was designed with the idea of taking the best of both those approaches and improving end results. The latest version will be introduced next March at the annual congress of the Association of American Dermatologists, says Ayellet Bar, marketing director for the parent company, PerfAction Technologies of Rehovot. On the market since 2013, EnerJet uses a non-thermal, no-needle, high-pressure jet stream to introduce any kind of healing agent or skin-enhancement material, such as hyaluronic acid, deep into the dermal layer of the skin anywhere on the body for a wide range of aesthetic indications including acne scars, stretch marks and facelifts.(via Israel21c)

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