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Friday, January 13, 2017


What’s New In UNSC 2334 By NEVET BASKER Last month the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2334, condemning Israel and its settlement policy. Justifying American acquiescence to this shameful pronouncement, administration officials and apologists argued that the U.S. has always allowed, or even supported, anti-Israel resolutions in the Security Council. This claim is not only false, it’s preposterous: Since 1973 the United States has vetoed at least 30 Security Council resolutions regarding “occupied Arab territories” and “the Palestinian question.” It’s true the U.S. has occasionally abstained or even voted in favor of Security Council resolutions admonishing Israel. But these have been few (about two dozen out of over 200 resolutions regarding Israel) and rare. Moreover, they were almost invariably perfunctory, even gratuitous, disapprovals of specific actions, such as the kidnapping of Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann to bring him to trial in Israel; holding an Independence Day parade in Jerusalem; the attack on the Iraqi nuclear facility; deporting Palestinians; and the siege of Yasir Arafat’s compound in Ramallah. But never has the U.S. used the Security Council to completely reverse decades of bipartisan foreign policy with regard to Israel (or any other issue). Why was this specific resolution so egregious? Why are so many people – including Democratic Party leaders and stalwart supporters of President Obama – outraged? Wasn’t this just “business as usual”? No, it wasn’t. America’s allowing UN Security Nevet Basker is an independent educator, public speaker, writer, and policy adviser specializing in modern-day Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Any updates and additions to this article can be found at the author’s website,

Council Resolution 2334 to pass really was unprecedented. Here are some of the ways in which it reverses almost fifty years of American foreign policy regarding Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: • It was done by a lame-duck president in a transition administration that had lost its mandate to govern; • It was done over the unanimous objection of Congress, clearly stated in advance (H. Con. Res. 165passed in the House of Representatives in November 2016); • It is completely one-sided (vague references to “acts of violence” without naming their perpetrators don’t count as “balance”), asking essentially nothing of the Palestinians, only of Israel; • It cites a “flagrant violation” of “international law” (section 1) without specifying which law is being violated (besides, the Security Council is not a legislative body and does not in fact have any authority to create or interpret international law); • It refers to settlements as illegal (having “no legal validity”) when all previous American administrations, including the current one, referred to settlements as “illegitimate” but have never labeled them illegal • It refers to the areas captured/liberated/reclaimed by Israel in 1967 as “occupied Palestinian territory,” a phrase the U.S. had previously explicitly rejected and which has no basis in international law; • It includes a specific reference to borders (the June 4, 1967 lines) when all previous American administrations, including this one, had repeatedly stated that borders are a final-status issue to be negotiated between the parties; • It includes a specific reference to Jerusalem as “occupied territory,” when all previous American

administrations, including this one, had stated that Jerusalem is a final-status issue to be negotiated between the parties; • It endorses the Arab Peace Initiative (section 9), never before accepted by the U.S. (or Israel) as a basis for negotiations. By choosing the forum of the Security Council, it internationalizes the conflict, despite the following: • All previous American administrations, including  this one, had stated that a solution would only come through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties; • The UN is notorious for its anti-Israel bias; • It abrogates UN Security Council Resolution 242  (even as it claims to “reaffirm” it), which has guided almost 50 years of American foreign policy, specifically the principles of mutuality/reciprocity; regional context for agreement; and “secure and recognized boundaries.” The Resolution also: • Abandons the principles of the Oslo Accords and the Quartet Roadmap for Peace (even while pretending to reaffirm them); • Enables, emboldens, and potentially endorses boycotts against Israel (section 5); • Pretends there can be a Palestinian state (with any borders) despite 70-plus years of Palestinian rejection of such a state (with any borders) and refusal in recent years to even negotiate for such a state, if it entails accepting Israel’s existence; • Ignores the weak, illegitimate, divided, un-

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