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UN Security Council passes anti-Israel resolution; U.S. abstains from vote in reversal of policy

Posted by Tip Staff - December 23, 2016


In a stunning move, the American delegation to the United Nations abstained from voting on a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemning Israel for settlement construction, allowing the measure to pass.
This is a reversal of U.S. policy, which has been for decades that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only come through direct negotiations. In 2011, when a similar resolution condemning settlement construction came up for a vote at the UNSC, the U.S. vetoed it. Then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said, in justifying the “no” vote, “Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse.” She thought it “unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians." Israeli-Palestinian peace, President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly later that year, would “not [come] through statements and resolutions at the U.N.”
The idea that peace can only come through direct negotiations between the two parties was enshrined in the Oslo process. In 1993, then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat wrote to then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that “all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.” According to an interim agreement reached between Israel and the PLO in 1995, settlements were defined to be among these permanent status issues. Per this agreement, known as “Oslo II,” “[n]either side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
Democratic lawmakers in the United States blasted the resolution and the American abstention from voting on it. “It is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the Administration has failed to veto this resolution,” said incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Whatever one’s views are on settlements, the U.N. is the wrong forum to settle these issues.” The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), said on Friday that the resolution “does nothing to move forward the shared goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. This resolution is one-sided and unfairly calls out Israel without assigning any blame for the Palestinian role in the current impasse.” Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based terrorist organization backed by Iran, praised the resolution because “it will pave [the] way for isolating and boycotting Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the resolution: “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms,” he said. “At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory.’”


The Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote on Israeli settlements on Friday was the subject of intense opposition from lawmakers in the president’s own party, with Democratic leaders warning that the resolution will damage efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said hours before the vote that “the proposed resolution does not bring us any closer to the goal of a two-state solution. Peace must come from direct negotiations between the two parties.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) similarly condemned the resolution on Thursday, saying that the vote “seeks to place responsibility for continued conflict fully on Israel and ignores violence and incitement by Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaderships. Any workable and long-lasting solution to this conflict must come about through direct, bilateral negotiations, and this resolution undermines that effort.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added on Thursday that “the UN should stop wasting its time trying to embarrass Israel, and the United States should continue the policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.”
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), said on Friday that the resolution “does nothing to move forward the shared goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. This resolution is one-sided and unfairly calls out Israel without assigning any blame for the Palestinian role in the current impasse.” Cardin emphasized his support for “direct negotiations between the parties” and criticized the speed with which the resolution was pushed to a vote, saying that “by introducing the resolution yesterday and scheduling a vote this week, other members of the Security Council have not had sufficient time to consider the text.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) warned on Thursday that the “resolution would undermine, if not undo, the chances for productive discussions between the two sides,” remarks echoed the following day by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who also called the resolution “unconstructive.” Sen. Sherrod Browncalled  (D-Ohio) stressed on Friday that “any lasting peace must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, not imposed by the international community.”
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) noted that “longstanding U.S. policy has been to stand with Israel against attempts to use the United Nations to internationalize the peace process, and that policy should be maintained.”
“I am concerned that some delegations to the United Nations continue to advance counterproductive resolutions such as the one introduced this week, while they turn a blind eye to international crises that should demand our immediate attention and action, including the conflict in Syria and Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he added.

Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, praised its “most outstanding” terrorist attacks in two posts over two days on its Facebook page, according to the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch. One post highlighted the “10 most outstanding operations” in the entire history of Fatah; the other the “10 most outstanding operations in the Al-Aqsa [Second] Intifada”, the wave of Palestinian violence lasting from 2000-2005 and killing more than 1,000 Israelis. The former post showed a flag of “Palestine” depicting all of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Incitement to violence by Fatah and the Palestinian leaders has been a constant driver of the conflict, and was responsible for a wave of stabbings and car rammings that has killed more than 40 Israelis since September 2015. Fatah boasted in August that it had “killed 11,000 Israelis.” Abbas praised a Jordanian who was shot while attempting to stab Israeli Border Police officers as a “martyr” in a condolence letter to his family last month. He has consistently refused to condemn acts of terrorism. A senior adviser to Abbas stated this past June, “Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat.” When a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa that killed American army veteran Taylor Force, the PA’s official TV news station called the terrorist responsible a “martyr” and on Twitter, Abbas’s Fatah party hailed him as a “martyr” and a “hero.” Last February, Abbas met with families of terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis, telling them: “Your sons are martyrs.”

A mysterious flash of light was observed in the dark sky on June 14, 2015. Since then, astronomers and astrophysicists have been working to find an explanation as to what process could have caused it. Now, postdoctoral fellow Giorgos Leloudas and Prof. Avishay Gal-Yam of the Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science –together with colleagues at the Institute, Drs. Paul Vreeswijk, Ofer Yaron and Steve Schulze, Joel Johannson, and Ira Bar, as well as researchers around the world – have announced that the spectrum of the light observed was an extremely rare event: the destruction of a star by the gravitational tides of a black hole at the center of its galaxy. The researchers ruled out a supernova as the light was double that of the brightest supernova recorded up to that point. Moreover, they noted that rather than gradually cooling, which is what happens in the average supernova, the temperature of the material emitting radiation went down – and then up again, remaining at the higher level for quite a while. (via Israel21c)

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