Wednesday, December 28, 2016

From Ian:

Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution
An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
At the same time, a report in an Israeli daily Tuesday night pointed to Britain helping draft the resolution and high drama in the hours leading up to the vote, as Jerusalem tried to convince New Zealand to bury the Security Council measure.
In a meeting in early December with top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Palestinians that the US was prepared to cooperate with the Palestinians at the Security council, Israel’s Channel 1 TV said, quoting the Egyptian Al-Youm Al-Sabea newspaper.
Also present at the meeting according to the report were US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Majed Faraj, director of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service.
White House: No coordination with Erekat, leaked transcript ‘total fabrication’
The White House on Wednesday denied any coordination with the Palestinians over the formulation of Friday’s United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements, and called recently leaked transcripts of conversations between top US and Palestinian officials, published by an Egyptian newspaper, a “total fabrication.”
According to the report in Al-Youm Al-Sabea, a meeting took place earlier this month between Secretary of State John Kerry, national security adviser Susan Rice and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, during which the three strategized on how to push forward a resolution that would be acceptable to the US.
While Erekat did lead a Palestinian delegation to Washington this month, no such meeting between all three individuals took place, according to National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.
A State Department statement released at the time confirmed that Erekat met separately with Kerry and Rice, but no tripartite meeting between all of them occurred, said Price.
“This alleged meeting… never happened,” Price told The Times of Israel on Wednesday morning. “The ‘transcript’ is a total fabrication.”
Phone Call From Biden Said to Precipitate Ukraine’s UN ‘Yes’ Vote
The repercussions of Friday’s United Nations Security Council vote in favor of a resolution urging Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory” continue to reverberate. The resolution, which declared Jewish settlement anywhere in the West Bank including the Old City of Jerusalem to be in violation of international law, passed by 14-0, with the United States abstaining—a game-changing action that broke with decades of diplomatic guarantees to Israel and which enraged American Jewish political leaders in both parties.
A wealth of evidence is now emerging that, far from simply abstaining from a UN vote, which is how the Administration and its press circle at first sought to characterize its actions, the anti-Israel resolution was actively vetted at the highest levels of the U.S. Administration, which then led a pressure campaign—both directly and through Great Britain—to convince other countries to vote in favor of it.
Tablet has confirmed that one tangible consequence of the high-level U.S. campaign was a phone call from Vice President Joseph Biden to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, which succeeded in changing Ukraine’s vote from an expected abstention to a “yes.” According to one U.S. national security source, the Obama Administration needed a 14-0 vote to justify what the source called “the optics” of its own abstention.
“Did Biden put pressure on the Ukrainians? Categorically yes,” said a highly-placed figure within the Israeli government with strong connections to Ukrainian government sources, who confirmed to Tablet that the Americans had put direct pressure on both the Ukrainian delegation—and on Poroshenko personally in Kiev. “That Biden told them to do it is 1000% true,” the source affirmed.

Trump slams Obama for his 'disdain' and 'disrespect' toward Israel
US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday took to social media to rail against the Obama administration's treatment of Israel, criticizing the White House's foreign policy decisions and its most recent move at the United Nations.
"We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect," Trump wrote on Twitter hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to give a speech on Middle East peace.
He continued by stating: "[Israel] used to have a great friend in the U.S., but... not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)!"
"Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!," the president-elect added.
Shortly after Trump issued his remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the incoming American commander-in-chief for backing Israel.
"President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!" Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.



Netanyahu: Arabs ‘ethnically cleansed’ Jews from West Bank
Not Israel, but the Arabs are responsible for “altering the demographic composition” of the West Bank by ethnically cleansing the area of Jews in 1948, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, continuing his aggressive rhetoric against Friday’s anti-settlement resolution at the UN.
“The anti-Israel resolution that just passed in the UN Security Council is based on the argument that Israel is ‘altering the demographic composition’ of Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday.
“The United Nations has consistently ignored the fact that Jews were ethnically cleansed from these territories in 1948, which is why there were no Jews in the area until after 1967.”
The resolution, supported by 14 nations on the 15-nation Security Council, with the US abstaining but allowing it to pass by not using its veto, condemned “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
Israel’s right to build homes is settled … under international law
Here we go again with the U.N. peddling the biggest geo-political hoax of all time — that Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria is illegal, that it belongs to a distinct Arab people called “Palestinians,” and that the source of Islamist mayhem across the globe is a smattering of Jewish homes being built in their ancestral land. Land, which by the way, is virtually invisible on a map compared to the mass of land controlled by Islam.
Next time people talk about #Israel & it's "Colonization" - show this map of Arab Colonization - & don't be fooled! pic.twitter.com/FU3zBZe684
— Zvi Lando (@zlando) August 6, 2016

While Islamic jihadists are blowing up every corner of the world, what is “the international community” focused on? Yup, those pesky little Jewish homes built in their ancestral home on a parcel of land not even visible on the map. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution before the Christmas weekend that “reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
Obama instructed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from vetoing that resolution, an unprecedented step given our history of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions. Worse, it appears that Obama was likely the ringleader behind the resolution because, according to Israeli sources, Vice President Joe Biden convinced Ukraine to support the resolution, a move that shocked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Gil Troy: Joining the jackals
When Jimmy Carter betrayed Israel in the UN with his self-defeating, cheap parting shot in December, 1980, The Washington Post wrote: “The American vote against Israel in the Security Council Friday… the essential Carter.” In abandoning its “friends,” the editors charged, Carter “join[ed] the jackals.”
In February, 1981, liberal Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan agreed, excoriating Carter’s amorality and incompetence in Commentary.
“American failure was total,” Moynihan concluded.
“And it was squalid.”
When Barack Obama became president, many hoped he would be a Democratic Ronald Reagan – effective, patriotic, and unifying. Instead, he became another Jimmy Carter – ineffective, petty, and polarizing.
Obama’s vindictive, counterproductive Security Council bludgeoning of Israel proved he didn’t just stumble into duplicating Carter’s errors – these were premeditated blunders.
Kerry to set out vision on Israeli-Palestinian peace in Wednesday speech
Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a highly anticipated address on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Wednesday, as Israel continues to rage over the United States allowing a resolution critical of settlement building to pass the United Nations Security Council.
At a press briefing Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed Kerry’s plans for the speech, though he refused to detail whether the top US diplomat would use the opportunity to announce a new American initiative, which officials in Jerusalem fear he may.
Toner said the secretary holds the conviction that “it is his duty in his remaining weeks and days as secretary of state to lay out what he believes is a way towards a two-state solution” and that “it’s always important to keep the process moving forward.”
“We haven’t given up on this and we don’t think the Israelis and Palestinians should either,” he added.
Officials said Kerry would make the speech to an invited audience, including the Washington diplomatic corps, at the State Department, in which he will provide a “comprehensive vision for how he believes the conflict can be resolved.”
Israel fears that Kerry’s principles will be discussed at a Paris summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on January 15 and could be enshrined in a further United Nations Security Council resolution. Its prime minister and top diplomats have directly accused the Obama administration of working with the Palestinians to drive through Friday’s Resolution 2334, something the US has denied.
Russia reportedly rejects Kerry request to adopt his Mideast peace framework
Amid frantic diplomatic maneuvers ahead of a Wednesday speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia reportedly rejected a request by United States for the Middle East Quartet to adopt the principles set to be presented in the speech.
Kerry spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday night, at which time the Russian foreign minister dismissed the US secretary’s proposal, according to Haaretz.
Lavrov subsequently released a statement urging direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The two top diplomats exchanged views on the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and around it,” says a transcript from the call, which appears on Russia’s semi-official Tass news agency.
“Lavrov stressed the necessity of creating conditions for direct talks between the leaders of Israel and Palestine and warned against bringing US’ domestic agenda into the work of the Middle East Quartet and the United Nations Security Council. He stressed that attempts to use these formats in bickering between the Democrats and Republicans are harmful.”
Howard Grief: Article 80 and the UN Recognition of a “Palestinian State” (2011)
In the entire debate now taking place on whether the United Nations Security Council or General Assembly has the right to approve the application of the “Palestinian Authority” to be recognized as a new member state of the UN, almost no mention is made of the legal fact that the UN itself is barred by its own Charter from acting upon or approving such an application. The reference here is, of course, to Article 80 of the UN Charter, once known unofficially as the Jewish People’s clause, which preserves intact all the rights granted to Jews under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the Mandate’s expiry on May 14-15, 1948. Under this provision of international law (the Charter is an international treaty), Jewish rights to Palestine and the Land of Israel were not to be altered in any way unless there had been an intervening trusteeship agreement between the states or parties concerned, which would have converted the Mandate into a trusteeship or trust territory. The only period of time such an agreement could have been concluded under Chapter 12 of the UN Charter was during the three-year period from October 24, 1945, the date the Charter entered into force after appropriate ratifications, until May 14-15, 1948, the date the Mandate expired and the State of Israel was proclaimed. Since no agreement of this type was made during this relevant three-year period, in which Jewish rights to all of Palestine may conceivably have been altered had Palestine been converted into a trust territory, those Jewish rights that had existed under the Mandate remained in full force and effect, to which the UN is still committed by Article 80 to uphold, or is prohibited from altering.
As a direct result of Article 80, the UN cannot transfer these rights over any part of Palestine, vested as they are in the Jewish People, to any non-Jewish entity, such as the “Palestinian Authority.” Among the most important of these Jewish rights are those contained in Article 6 of the Mandate which recognized the right of Jews to immigrate freely to the Land of Israel and to establish settlements thereon, rights which are fully protected by Article 80 of the UN Charter.
How Pro-Israel Dems Lost the Party
One year ago, I wrote in COMMENTARY about what we termed the “Democratic Divorce from Israel.” In the last 12 months, concern about the Democrats’ abandonment of their former stance as a uniformly pro-Israel party has only grown.
The split among Democrats was put on display during the Democratic primaries, when Clinton’s support for Israel’s self-defense contrasted with Sanders’s UN-style canards about the 2014 Gaza campaign. But while Clinton won the nomination, Sanders’s position was embraced by the party’s liberal activist base. Clinton’s defeat will only accelerate the left’s march to ascendancy. That a virulent foe of Israel like Keith Ellison has received support(including the backing of Schumer) in his campaign for the DNC post indicates which way the wind is blowing among Democrats.
Obama’s UN betrayal was not so much a turning point as the logical conclusion of a long-term trend with inevitable consequences. Nor does Obama’s exit from the White House leave the way open for a comeback for pro-Israel Democrats. Even in retirement Obama will be the party’s most prestigious and popular figure and could continue with his vendetta against Netanyahu and Israel (think Jimmy Carter on steroids). Additionally, the leftist faction that despised Clinton and seems likely to be calling the shots in the coming years is sympathetic to attacks on Israel.
It would be a tragedy both for Israel and the United States if support for Israel became one on which partisan affiliation determined opinions. But the problem here is not the lockstep support for Israel that has become nearly universal among Republicans and which is manifesting itself in the positions taken by the incoming Trump administration. Rather it is the ease with which Obama was able to abandon Israel without significant pushback from his party. And an ascendant left wing will only continue the trend. It remains to be seen whether what’s left of the pro-Israel faction in the party—both among elected officials and its major donors—have the will or the numbers to reverse what seems now to be an inevitable slide toward hostility to the Jewish state.
Congress Moving to Cut U.S. Funding to U.N. in Wake of Anti-Israel Vote
Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval, according to congressional leaders, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the current administration is already plotting to take further action against the Jewish state before vacating office.
Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation both on and off the record.
The Obama administration is still under bipartisan attack for its decision to help craft and facilitate the passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem, a move that reversed years of U.S. policy on the matter.
The Free Beacon was the first to disclose on Monday that senior Obama administration officials played a key role in ensuring the measure was passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council. This included a phone call by Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine’s president to ensure that country voted in favor of the measure.
While Biden’s office continues to dispute the claim, reporters in Israel and Europe confirmed in the intervening days that the call between Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did in fact take place.
With anger over the issue still roiling, leading members of Congress told the Free Beacon on Wednesday that they will not delay in seeking retribution against the U.N. for the vote. This could include cutting off U.S. funding for the U.N. and stripping the Palestinian mission’s diplomatic privileges.
Democratic Whip to Kerry: Shut Up!
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic whip in the House of Representatives, second in ranking to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on Tuesday released a statement calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to cancel his Middle East peace speech scheduled for Wednesday, just days after the US had allowed an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council.
“I urged the Administration to veto the recently passed UN Security Council resolution regarding Israel and settlements,” Hoyer, an old friend of Israel since his election in 1981, wrote, in reaction to “reports that Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration intend to lay out a formulation that would disadvantage Israel in any future negotiations on a final settlement with the Palestinian Authority.”
“Unfortunately, they failed to do so, and Israel’s enemies were strengthened,” Hoyer continued.
“As Ambassador Power pointed out in her statement on the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on the situation in the Middle East, ‘…as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations.’ 2016 was no exception, and there were more resolutions regarding Israel than there were regarding Syria, North Korea, Iran, South Sudan, and Russia combined,” Hoyer wrote.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Woman Cowering Under Bed Amid Chicago Gun Battles Glad Obama Finally Sticking It To Netanyahu (satire)
A single mother of two cradling her little boys to her chest as a gangland gun battle rages in her housing project expressed gratification tonight that her fellow Chicagoan, President Barack Obama, was putting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his place by engineering, then refusing to veto, a UN Security Council resolution declaring Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice line illegal.
Stacy Shartell, 25, screamed in horror at the sound of semiautomatic weapons fire in and near neighboring apartments, as well as at the ricochets and badly aimed shots that had already struck several places near her and her children. With the chaos and bloodshed surrounding her, the waitress thought of the myriad ways the lame-duck president’s parting shot at Israel would help her, and managed a brief smile before another volley of small-arms fire resonated through her home.
“I’m sure glad we have one of our own in the White House – he’s certainly showing that Bibi who’s boss,” pronounced Shartell between booms and her own preschooler’s and toddler’s screams. “It’s a damn good thing Obama spent so much time in these parts – he understands the concerns of people such as me who are trapped in Hell with no real hope of emerging unscathed. This climax of a progressive, eight-year stab-in-the-back of the US’s closest ally in the Middle East gives me the hope I need to get through these difficult times. I know with the right focus, this president is really shaping up to be one of the best for me and my family.”
Shartell noted the ways her life is expected to improve as a result of the president’s vindictive, petty machinations at the UN. “I can’t wait for this to translate into tangible benefits for me and my boys,” she predicted as a bullet pierced the mattress over her one-year-old’s head. “Any day now we should start to see things get better. Now that our commander-in-chief has thrown himself into an effort to demonize and isolate Israel, I’m sure my landlord will start fixing the leaky plumbing, remove and replace the lead-based paint on the walls, and do something about all the broken windows. At the same time, it’s probably only a matter of days, perhaps hours, until the rival gangs around here just lay down their weapons, stop dealing heroin and crack, and set up an organic, locally-sourced food cooperative.”
Negotiations or UN motions? The PA strategy is in its curriculum
Following Friday night’s UN Security Council Resolution 2334, Palestinian Authority President Abbas lost no time during a Christmas Eve celebration, in smoothly pivoting to his tried-and tested-talking points, carefully crafted for the international community:
“You [Israel] have your state, and we can have our state, and then we can live side-by-side in peace and security.” And the sides should “sit together at the negotiation table to discuss all the outstanding issues between us and resolve them with good intentions … we are neighbors on this holy land and we want peace.”
Messages of peace, of two states living side by side, negotiations and security, are all very much in the spirit of the Holiday Season, the Oslo Accords and indeed everything the international community has heard from Abbas for the last 12 years of his four-year presidency.
So why are none of these aspirations for a negotiated peace with Israel — none at all — in the Palestinian school curriculum? The current curriculum is made up of nearly 200 books that together represent the single most comprehensive expression of Palestinian national identity and reflect the values that the PA wishes to pass down to future generations. There is enough space and enough subject matter in this large corpus of information for young Palestinians to delve into what exactly Abbas means when he speaks of “living side-by-side with Israel” and “sitting together to negotiate.”
But none of this appears in the PA curriculum. No living side-by-side and no sitting together. In fact, the word “peace” does not appear in the curriculum at all.
David Singer: Correcting Carr's Canards Concerning Israel and Vested Jewish Legal Rights
Australia’s former Foreign Minister and former head of Labor Friends of Israel – Bob Carr – has entered the debate concerning Security Council Resolution 2334 passed on 23 December with his article in the Sydney Morning Herald “The Genius of the UN’s Resolution on Israeli settlements” (December 27)
His contribution is riddled with the following errors that cannot be allowed to stand unanswered and uncorrected and need to be rectified.
1. He states that Levi Eshkol’s chief legal advisor Theodor Meron advised the Prime Minister in 1967 that the Geneva Convention says no nation may settle its own population on land it wins in war.
What Mr Carr omits to tell readers is that Mr Meron changed his opinion on the applicability of the Geneva Convention in 1968 when he co-signed the following advice to Israel’s then Ambassador to the United States – Yitzchak Rabin:
“to tell the Americans that there are unique aspects to the status of the territories and to our status in the territories. Before the Six-Day War, the Gaza Strip wasn’t Egyptian territory, and the West Bank, too, was territory that had been occupied and annexed by Jordan without international recognition. Given this ambiguous, indeterminate territorial situation, the question of the convention’s applicability is complex and unclear prior to a peace agreement that includes setting secure and recognized borders.”
2. Carr claims Meron is alive today, an eminent international jurist. He says he was right then and is right now.
No evidence is supplied by Carr to substantiate that claim – which is obviously rebutted by Meron’s revised 1968 opinion to Rabin. Why did Carr fail to mention Meron’s 1968 epiphany?
JPost Editorial: Netanyahu’s fight against UN vote is making matters worse
Israel is worse off after UN Security Council Resolution 2334, but instead of mitigating the damage, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be making matters worse.
He has embarked on a diplomatic offensive that threatens to further isolate Israel and squander important diplomatic credit with the US Congress and the incoming Trump administration over yet another anti-Israel UN resolution.
He risks exposing Israel to a further deterioration in relations with the US in the three-and-a-half weeks that remain of the Obama administration’s term.
He is also further alienating the nation’s diplomatic corps in the Foreign Ministry, most of whom are undoubtedly opposed to the prime minister’s recent actions.
Considering the possibility that Obama might be planning further moves against Israel at the UN in the weeks that remain to his term, there is some justification to trying to create a deterrence. Nevertheless, since Israel needs the world more than the world needs Israel, the question is how much damage will Netanyahu’s retributive campaign do before it likely fails.
Edgar Davidson: United Nations calls for ethnic cleansing

Demonstrators in NYC to Demand: ‘Defund The UN’
A flyer is making its way around the internet, calling on demonstrators to show up at 12 noon on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, 799 UN Plaza, First Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets in New York City to call on the U.S. government to defund the United Nations in response to last week’s vote against Israel at the UN Security Council.
“As we begin the joyous festivities of Chanukah, we find ourselves beset with angst over the colossal betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration at Friday’s United Nations Security Council,” writes organizer David Hooreen in the Jewish Voice.
Demonstrators are urged to gather to “send a clarion call to the United States government to defund the morally bankrupt and highly tendentious United Nations.”
“Because we are cognizant of the fact that this resolution will become fodder in the obsessive crusade by the international community to create a terror-driven Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard, thereby jeopardizing its security, we have taken initiatives of our own to counter these nefarious agendas and we ask that you play an important role in them,” the notice continues.
“Make your voice heard and stand with those who support the timeless values of decency, democracy and equality as we show a united front for Israel and America.”
UK accused of ‘failing to take honourable course’ over UN vote
Israel will curb diplomat contacts with Britain over its support for the United Nations settlements resolution, as the Board of Deputies accused the government of “failing to take the honourable course”.
The resolution passed at the UN Security Council with 14 countries in favour and one abstention – the United States – after the latter broke with tradition by not vetoing the motion of condemnation.
Benjamin Netanyahu accused the White House of initiating the move and of a “shameful anti-Israel ambush at the UN”, while the ambassadors or deputy envoys of 12 countries who backed the motion were summonsed following the vote.
The Israeli PM has also ordered ministers to limit travel to those countries in the coming days. Joint activities involving those embassies in Israel will be suspended, though Israeli envoys stationed abroad will continue to have contacts with local governments.
Yachad wrote to Boris Johnson urging the UK to support the motion. But Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies, said: “I am deeply disappointed that the UK Government failed to take the honourable course of exercising its power to veto a biased and unbalanced resolution.”
Conservative pundits slam Obama over anti-Israel UN vote
Conservative commentators in the U.S. have lashed out against President Barack Obama over his decision not to veto U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlement activity.
Senior Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer told Fox News on Monday that the administration's claim that the White House played no active role in passing the resolution was false.
"The claim that the resolution just showed up and they decided to abstain is ridiculous. This was a U.S. operation all the way," he said.
"This is very serious damage that cannot be undone, because you can't change a Security Council resolution without the acquiescence of the Russians and the Chinese, and you're not going to get it.
"It's as if the U.N. passed a resolution declaring Mecca and Medina to be sovereign Jewish or Christian territory. It's absurd. It's an insult to the intelligence of the world and is supremely damaging to the Israeli claim to its own holy places."
Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor and senior foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephen called the U.N. vote "Obama's fitting finish."
Report: ‘Near-Euphoric’ Palestinian Officials Say UN Resolution Enables Boycott of Settlements, Anti-Israel Lawsuits at International Criminal Court
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reacted with “near-euphoria” to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 — the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Tuesday — saying it “proves that the world rejects [Israeli] settlements as illegal, and [acknowledges] they were established on our occupied land, including east Jerusalem.”
According to nrg, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that, because of the resolution, “It will now be possible to impose a boycott on the settlements, and even employ legal sanctions against companies that work with [them].”
Al-Maliki, who nrg said is considered one of the PA’s key promoters of international anti-Israel activity, specified a number of options that Friday’s Security Council vote has made available, among them using the threat of personal lawsuits filed with the International Criminal Court in The Hague as leverage on Israeli decision-makers.
In interviews with the Palestinian press, Al-Maliki said, “We are working on shaping a vision that sees 2017 as the year of the end of Israeli occupation.”
Al-Maliki’s sentiments were echoed by Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Shtayyeh, a former Palestinian negotiator and close adviser to Abbas, who was quoted by the Chinese news outlet Xinhua as saying that the PA intends to assemble a team to document Israeli land expropriation, settlement construction, the “illegal use of water resources… and other illegal Israeli uses of Palestinian territory.”
Israeli Ambassador Dermer: Top Obama National Security Adviser Rhodes, Who Denied US Behind Anti-Settlement UN Resolution, an ‘Expert at Fiction’
Earlier on Monday, as reported by The Algemeiner, Dermer told CNN’s Don Lemon that Israel had “clear evidence” the Obama administration was behind the resolution, which passed by a 14-0 margin, with the US abstaining.
“We will present that evidence to the new [Trump] administration through the appropriate channels,” Dermer said. “And if they want to share it with the American people, they’re welcome to.”
Talking about what transpired on Friday, Dermer stated, “It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang-up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang-up.”
“I think it was a very sad day and really a shameful chapter in US-Israel relations,” Dermer went on to say. “We are deeply disappointed by this decision that was made [by the Obama administration].”
Obama’s former Mideast envoy: U.S. should have vetoed UN resolution
President Barack Obama’s former special envoy to the Middle East said Tuesday that Obama would have been wise to veto last week’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
“I do think, if I might make a few other points on this issue, that President Obama would have been wise to veto this resolution,” George Mitchell said in an interview on MSNBC. “Not because of the policy implications but because of the timing and the circumstance that it leads to with respect to trying to get the parties together.”
Mitchell argued that because there is an incoming administration, which will ultimately decide its own Middle East foreign policy, Obama should have postponed the vote if possible and, if not, vetoed it.
Mitchell, however, did push back against critics of the move, arguing that American opposition to Israeli settlement building is nothing new and has been condemned by every administration in recent memory.
“Every American president, since the beginning of settlements 50 years ago, from Johnson and Nixon, down through Bush and Obama, has opposed Israel's policy on settlements,” he said.
Karl Rove: Obama Has Treated Netanyahu With ‘Contempt’
Tuesday on Fox Business Channel’s “Varney & Company,” while discussing the United Nations security resolution criticizing Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and the Obama administration’s failure to veto it, Fox News political analyst Karl Rove said, “This is the contempt with which president Obama has treated Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past, and I think this is aimed more at Netanyahu than it is Trump.”
Rove said, “Yes, and very dangerous to the United States and to our ally, Israel, because this is the first time that the United States has allowed a resolution to go forward that basically calls for Israel to return to the ’67 borders which have widely been held to be indefensible and would leave Israel as insecure. And this is the first time, I mean, it literally says Israel is illegally holding this territory that it won as a result of the ’67 and ’73 wars. And this is the first time that this has ever happened. Parting shot by the administration. I think it’s less aimed at Donald Trump than it is by the Obama Administration aimed at Netanyahu. Remember, Netanyahu is invited to the White House, taken to the private quarters of the White House, not given a glass of water, not given a meal and hot boxed for hours and then allowed to leave at the door of the White House where they take out the trash. And the press is alerted that he’s going to be leaving. Remember the photograph of him leaving the big mounds of trash in plastic bags to his side.”
“Well, this is the contempt with which President Obama has treated Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past, and I think this is aimed more at Netanyahu than it is Trump, but it is going to be, again, bad for the United States, bad for Middle East peace,” he continued. “From now on the Israelis are going to be in a negotiation with the Palestinians where the Palestinians say we no longer have a U.N. resolution that gives you the authority to trade land for peace. We now have a U.N. resolution that obligates you to give up all the territory as an opening condition of any discussions.”
GOP Rep Cole: Obama Israel Policy ‘a Series of Calculated Insults’
Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) took aim at President Barack Obama’s treatment of Israel, particularly after the United States declined to use its power on the U.N. Security Council to thwart a resolution condemning Israel for the location of settlements in what the body claimed was disputed territory.
Cole called in a break with traditional U.S. policy and said he was eager to see if the Israeli government indeed had proof the United States “colluded” with other countries to push the resolution.
“Frankly, it is a break in our long-time policy — not on the settlement issue, but it made sure that U.N. resolutions are not one-sided,” he said. “This clearly was. To do it the last 30 days of your presidency when you know the incoming administration holds a different position I think was reckless and reprehensible. And I’m going to be interested to see if the Israeli charge that the United States actually colluded in this is true. I think it is too early to tell, but there is nothing reassuring about the way we handled this situation in my view.”
As a whole, Cole said the passage of the resolution was the final insult in a series of insults the administration had levied on Israel.
WaPo’s Richard Cohen Rips Obama’s Failure of Leadership: ‘Waved a Droopy Flag’
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen is no conservative, and certainly no fan of Donald Trump. The headline of a column he wrote during the campaign, after all, was “Trump’s Hitlerian disregard for the truth.”
Which makes his column of today, “Thanks to no-drama Obama, American leadership is gone,” which absolutely rips the bark off Barack Obama, all the more remarkable. Observing that Obama “has been all too happy to preside over the loss of American influence,” he describes the current president as having “waved a droopy flag. He did not want to make America great again. It was great enough for him already.” On Syria, Obama “threw in the towel. The banner he flew was one of American diminishment.”
Concluded Cohen grimly: “Whether we liked it or not, we were the world’s policeman. There was no other cop on the beat. Now that leadership is gone. So, increasingly, will be peace.”
Today’s Morning Joe panel discussed the Cohen column, with fellow WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson mounting a wan defense of Obama, arguing that the world is more complicated and “multi-layered” than it used to be. Whatever.
Robinson claimed that American leadership was “simple” and “easy” during the Cold War period. Baloney! Until Ronald Reagan’s “we win, they lose” came along, Jimmy Carter’s droopy flag made it seem that the Soviet Union could survive indefinitely.
One cavil with Cohen’s conclusion: Barack Obama will soon be gone, but the same is not necessarily true for American leadership. There’s a new guy coming to the White House. Let’s see what he can do to restore American leadership in the world. There have already been some promising signs.
Are Israeli Settlements the Barrier to Peace?
Is Israel's policy of building civilian communities in the West Bank the reason there's no peace agreement with the Palestinians? Or would there still be no peace even if Israel removed all of its settlements and evicted Israeli settlers, as it did in Gaza in 2005? Renowned Harvard professor and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz explains.


Total Middle East Peace Achieved after Settlement Resolution Passed in UN (satire)
Following the surprising passage of UNSC resolution 2334, stating that settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal and are a major obstacle to peace, all conflicts have ended and peace has immediately spread to all corners of the previously volatile region.
“I had begun to think that we might be disproportionately targeting Israel in the UN, but clearly these results show it was the right approach,” said UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. “Prime Minister Netanyahu even called me to apologize for saying so many mean things about the UN in the past. Turns out, we’re not so useless after all!”
The resolution set off a domino effect in the Middle East with ISIS disbanding, Bashar Al-Assad coming to terms on a unity government with Syrian rebel groups, Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims banding together in Iraq, the War in Yemen coming to an immediate close, stabilization in Libya, stabilization in Afghanistan, stabilization in Lebanon, and Iran unilaterally deciding to dispose of its nuclear enrichment program.
“We always knew that Israel and the settlements were the root of all of the issues in the region. The passage of the resolution puts us on the path to absolute peace and stability.” stated Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. “And once we get rid of all those Jews, everything will fall right into line!”
Amar’e Stoudemire Sends a (Hanukkah) Message to the UN
A couple of days after the UN passed a resolution declaring all Israeli settlements illegal under international law, and that the country cease construction in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and other territories captured in the 1967 war, Israeli basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire sent a not-so-subtle message on behalf of his Jewish ancestors, and geotagged it from the Old City.
This, he wrote, is where the Maccabees were victorious. It’s also where Netanyahu lit candles over the weekend in an act of defiance over the UN ruling. In chorus, here’s Amar’e’s Hanukkah message to the UN, and to all.



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