Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Enough is enough! Jerusalem must be recognized as Israel’s capital

Enough is enough! Jerusalem must be recognized as Israel’s capital
Op-ed: It remains an absurd anomaly that Jerusalem is the only world capital not recognized by the international community, and in which Israel, like every sovereign nation under international law, has been denied its inalienable right to designate its own capital. There is never a wrong time to do what is right, just and moral.

By Arsen Ostrovsky

In the past week, speculation has been rife that US President Donald Trump is set to announce the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Such a move, while reinforcing the United States’ position as Israel’s pre-eminent ally, would also correct a longstanding injustice and send a powerful message to the Palestinians about the future direction of the peace process.

To be sure, for Israelis, as well as most Jews around the world and our millions of Christian supporters, it is a given that Jerusalem is the heartbeat, soul and eternal capital of the Jewish people. This message though needs to be also reinforced to our Palestinian neighbors.

However, like clockwork, no sooner than speculation began circling that President Trump is set to make the announcement, making good on his pre-election promises of recognizing “Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel” and “moving the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people” the Palestinians have been predictably up-in-arms.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has threatened that peace talks will be “dead” if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Hamas has called for an “intifada,” while the Arab League has warned that such a move would “fuel violence.”

Newsflash: The PA has not exactly been engaged in “peace talks” for quite some time now, while the failure to date of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital has not prevented the Palestinians from waging an incessant campaign of terror, violence and intifadas against the Jewish state.

Enough is enough! The United States and the international community must no longer remain hostage to Palestinian threats, extortion and intimidation. President Trump should lead by example in this regard, by not only sending a powerful message to the Palestinians, but doing what is right and just, in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

Such an act would further shatter the Palestinian delusions, calls of incitement and delegitimization propaganda that Jews have no connection to Jerusalem.

It would also send an unequivocal message to those in the international community, such as UNESCO, to halt their continuing acquiescence and encouraging of this incitement and blatant denial of history.

President Trump has long professed his desire to reach the “ultimate deal” of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The conventional wisdom has been that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would hamper this effort, as the Palestinians continue to threaten.

There are also some who suggest this would impede Trump’s efforts to establish a regional coalition to fight terrorism in the Middle East, specifically against the Islamic State.

The reality, however, is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long ceased to be a top priority for the Arab and Gulf states, which are today more concerned with a nuclear Iran and rampaging ISIS than the geographic location of Israel’s capital. According to the latest report from the NY Times, even the highly influential Saudis have proposed to the Palestinians an alternate capital, not Jerusalem, but the adjoining suburb of Abu Dis.

It is noteworthy that since 1967, every US President has more or less sought to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but each has failed—not for lack of effort, but due largely to Palestinian rejectionism and intransigence. Jerusalem has just been a handy excuse for the Palestinians.

Despite Trump’s best intentions, there is no indication that the Palestinians’ position under the present leadership, including in which Palestinian President Abbas continues to use US aid money to pay convicted terrorists and has sought to embrace the terrorist organization Hamas, has changed.

Simply put, there is never a wrong time to do what is right, just and moral. Although this past year Israel celebrated 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, the Jewish people’s historic, legal and inextricable bond to this holy city extends well over 3,000 years.

It remains an absurd anomaly that Jerusalem is the only world capital not recognized by the international community, and in which Israel, like every sovereign nation under international law, has been denied its inalienable right to designate its own capital.

Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people—and only the Jewish people—throughout recorded history. It is mentioned more than 850 times in the Bible, yet not once in the Quran. Jews end their High Holy Day prayers with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem,” where the city today has also become the seat of Israel’s parliament, government, judiciary and national institutions.

There is no real impediment precluding Trump’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, Congress has even mandated so in its 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, calling on Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.

In the coming fortnight, the Jewish people in Israel and around the world will celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, marking the recapture of Jerusalem and dedication of the Jewish Temple over 2,000 years ago.

Just as Jerusalem is the burning light of the Jewish soul, there could be no better time or more powerful an opportunity to celebrate the unique history of Israel and the Jewish people, while reaffirming the unshakable bond between Israel and the United States, than to reaffirm and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and undisputed capital.

Arsen Ostrovsky is an international human rights lawyer.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Time for international community to acknowledge Six-Day War is over and that Jerusalem is, has been, will always remain capital of Jews.'

There may be hope for Sweden, after all

Time for international community to acknowledge Six-Day War is over and that Jerusalem is, has been, will always remain capital of Jews.'

Swedish magazine Världen idag ("The World Today") ran an article entitled Time for the UN to Accept the Outcome of the Six-Day War by Tomas Sandell. Arutz Sheva brings a translation of the article in its entirety for the wholly lucid dedication to truth Sandell demonstrates herein:

This week, the international community will mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem. But despite the fact that Israel won its war against three Arab armies in early June 1967 in record time, the war seems to continue. Indeed, the international community still has difficulty accepting that the small country of Israel, against all odds over the Arab armies, and as a result of winning this war, received new lands.
The war ended formally after six days, June 10, 1967, but still fifty years later, the international community demands that the "occupied" territories of Israel should be returned even though it was not Israel who started the war. Thus, the Israeli "occupation" is considered to be the root of the entire Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The statement is incorrect for two different reasons. According to international law, one can not occupy an area already belonging to a legal entity. Judea and Samaria were assigned to the Jewish state in the 1922 Palestine Mandate in the land area that remained when the original mandate was divided into two parts, a Jewish Palestine (1948 Israel) and an Arab Palestine, today Jordan.

The United Nations partition plan of 1947, on the other hand, had been rejected by the Arab neighbors of Israel and thus never came into force. The lands that Israel regained in the Six-Day War therefore already belonged to it according to international law after being illegally occupied by Jordan for twenty years.

Secondly, international law expressly prohibits a war of aggression. On the other hand, it does not say anything about land areas gained after a regular war of defense. Thus, a country, or a group of countries, can not start a war of aggression and if they lose the war, the counterparty be called out for occupation. Public law can not reasonably forbid countries to defend themselves, or encourage countries to initiate a war of aggression with the promise that they can later regain all the territories that they lose. This would be a recipe for complete chaos where aggressive states are rewarded while the law-abiding ones have no legal rights.

Now it is therefore time for the international community to accept the outcome of the Six-Day War.

Indeed, in UN resolution 242, the Government of Israel has agreed that certain lands should be returned in a peace agreement, but the allegation that Israel is currently occupying Palestinian land is wrong because they "occupied territories" that never belonged to a Palestinian state.

When you repeat in international relations next week that the Six-Day War is the root of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, you are wrong.

If the Palestinian people (actually Arabs living in the Palestine Mandate) had been interested in their own state, one such was founded in 1947 when the UN partition plan offered them everything they are asking for today and more.In other words, one had twenty years, from 1947 to 1967, to create a state, but there was no interest. Therefore, it is intellectually unsound to claim that the war in 1967 is the core of the conflict.

As an external columnist, it is not my job to decide how to resolve the conflict, but the Israeli government has announced that it is prepared to negotiate with the Palestinians about a state, but insists that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, and that today's status will not change and the Temple Mount be preserved under Jordanian administration. This is no unreasonable bargaining position.

After almost fifty years, it is time for the international community to acknowledge that the Six-Day War is over and that Jerusalem is, has been, and will always remain the capital of the Jews. This fact is acknowledged, de facto, every time a head of state travels to Jerusalem to meet the government of the country. These meetings do not happen in Tel Aviv but in Jerusalem. When you talk about partition of Jerusalem between East and West, you forget that only East Jerusalem with the Western Wall is the historic Jerusalem holy to the Jewish people. If you think Israel's demands on Jerusalem are unreasonable, one has to consider the options, to share Jerusalem, and to create a new Mecca in East Jerusalem where no non-Muslim may enter.

For those who want to safeguard universal legal principles and values, it is therefore important to safeguard Jerusalem's current status as a united city open to all religions as well as to those who do not belong to any religion. Jerusalem's reunion is an event worth celebrating, for Christians, Muslims, as well as Jews.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Land Ownership in Palestine, 1880-1948

Land Ownership in Palestine, 1880-1948
 by Moshe Aumann 

A great deal has been spoken and written over the years on the subject of land ownership in Israel—or, before 1948, Palestine. Arab propaganda, in particular, has been at pains to convince the world, with the aid of copious statistics, that the Arabs "own" Palestine, morally and legally, and that whatever Jewish land ownership there may be is negligable. From this conclusions have been drawn (or implied) with regard to the sovereign rights of the State of Israel and the problem of the Arab refugees.

The Arab case against Israel, in the matter of Jewish land purchases, rests mainly on two claims: (1) that the Palestinian Arab farmer was peacefully and contentedly working his land in the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th when along came the European Jewish immigrant, drove him off his land, disrupted the normal development of the country and created a vast class of landless, dispossessed Arabs; (2) that a small Jewish minority, owning an even smaller proportion of Palestinian lands (5 per cent as against the Arabs' 95 per cent), illegally made itself master of Palestine in 1948. 

Our purpose in this pamphlet is to set the record straight by marshalling the facts and figures pertaining to this very complex subject, on the basis of the most reliable and authoritative information available, and to trace the history of modern Jewish resettlement purely from the point of view of the sale and purchase of land. 

For the rest of this article click the link.....  http://www.wordfromjerusalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/the-case-for-israel-appendix2.pdf

Monday, January 2, 2017

The UN abandons the world

The UN abandons the world

By Smadar Bat Adam

The U.N. has demonstrated shocking disrespect for its own charter and contempt for the main reason why it was established: to save future generations from the violence of war and to bring peace and security to the world. The organization, which was established during World War II "to save humanity from hell," as its second secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjold, put it, has made biased resolutions and prevented other resolutions from passing out of cowardice. This can be seen in the many international crises, regional conflicts, civil wars and the enormous number of victims. What particularly stands out is the biggest number of refugees since World War II -- some 60 million refugees and displaced persons are now seeking a safe haven.

I accuse the Security Council, one of the U.N.'s six main branches, for being too ineffectual to impose peace or security in the world, as it is entrusted to do. It isn't scrambling to prevent the bloodshed of the civil war in Yemen, is uninterested in the national aspirations of the Kurds, and hasn't lifted a finger to save the residents of Darfur from chemical weapons. Faced with the Islamic State, it's like a reed in the wind, and is helpless to do anything about the millions of refugees flooding into Europe.

Throughout the five-plus years of the Syrian civil war -- during which almost 500,000 people have been killed, about 2 million wounded and some 6 million turned into refugees (according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) -- the Security Council hasn't passed a single operative resolution to check the killing of civilians or the suffering of the besieged residents of the cities under attack. The council's awe of Russia, which represented Iran and Syria while thwarting every attempt to promote a diplomatic solution or even a cease-fire, overcame the sanctity of life.

I accuse the U.N. organization of giving legitimacy to the new anti-Semitism, which is mainly characterized by accusing Israel of murdering the Palestinian people, while comparing the Palestinians' situation to that of Jews during the Holocaust, and by supporting the dehumanization of Israel as the state of the Jews and opposition to Zionism, and in effect to the very existence of the state of Israel.

A small sampling of the twisted picture: the bad resolution equating Zionism with racism that remained in effect from 1975 until 1991; the eight condemnations issued against Israel in 2006, while dictatorships that were killing their own citizens weren't condemned more than once a year for the entire course of its existence; the U.N. summits on racism in 2001 (Durban) and in 2009 (Geneva), which moved from a discussion of racism in the world to a show of incitement and anti-Semitism against Israel; the delusional agreement of 2014, in which the U.N. General Assembly passed 24 resolutions containing various condemnations -- 20 (83%) of which were directed against Israel; and the fact that at the start of 2016, four months into the most recent wave of terrorism, the Security Council passed 12 resolutions against terrorism in the world and zero resolutions against Palestinian terrorism in Israel.

I accuse the U.N. organization of repeatedly presenting Israel as a recalcitrant state that adheres to a racist principle of a national state, discriminating against it and keeping it out of the principle explicitly declared in its charter to "promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

I accuse the U.N. organization of wasting precious time passing baseless condemnations of Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, at the expense of properly handling all the other serious problems on the face of the earth.

I accuse the Human Rights Council, which every year issues twice as many condemnations of Israel as it does for the entire rest of the nations of the world together, but does not find the time to address, rape, murder and sex trafficking of women; does not take an interest in the homosexuals hanged publicly in Iran; and ignores the hundreds of thousands of children who are dying of hunger under the brutal oppressive regime in North Korea.

I hold the U.N. organization responsible for abandoning the world and for the current global chaos. Its obsessive focus on Israel allows the forces of evil to carry out a Holocaust on the rest of humanity.


12 reasons the US should never have allowed UN Resolution 2334

12 reasons the US should never have allowed UN Resolution 2334

What follows is part of an open letter I sent to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power following the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334:
To understand why so many supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace oppose what you did on Friday, I urge you and the Administration to consider the following 12 points:
1. Resolution 2334 Encourages Palestinian Rejectionism, Undermines Negotiations
The resolution dangerously disincentivizes Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Instead, Resolution 2334 will for the foreseeable future encourage them to await being handed the same or more by international fiat. This will feed into the Palestinian strategy of preferring to deal with international institutions over bilateral talks with Israel. Contrary to its stated objective, therefore, the resolution will only push negotiations further away.
In this regard, we recall that in 2011, your predecessor Susan Rice vetoed a similar resolution on the grounds that it risked “hardening the positions of both sides,” and “could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.” She said it was “unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.”
Though your speech claims that circumstances have now changed, many will see the only meaningful difference as the fact that the current transition period allows a president to make unpopular decisions at no political cost.
2. Resolution Fuels Palestinian Targeting of Israelis with BDS & International Prosecutions
Secretary of State John Kerry pledged this month to oppose any “biased, unfair resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel.” And though he likewise said on Friday after the vote that he is proud of “defending Israel against any efforts to undermine its security or legitimacy in international fora,” and “steadfastly opposing boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” the fact is that these are precisely the efforts empowered by Resolution 2334.
Friday’s text not only provides the first Security Council endorsement of the scandalous 2004 ICJ advisory opinion, which denied Israel’s right to defend itself from Gaza rockets, but it implicitly encourages the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in its preliminary examination of whether Israeli officials have engaged in the “war crime” of settlement building, and provides the same impetus to prosecutions in national courts that claim universal jurisdiction. If Tzipi Livni was already being served with UK arrest warrants before, Resolution 2334 will only aggravate anti-Israel lawfare. The U.S. should never have lent its hand to a campaign designed to delegitimize Israeli civil and military leaders as criminals.
Moreover, the resolution’s appeal to all states to take action, in paragraph 5, is a clear call to escalate campaigns seeking to boycott Israeli products, companies and citizens. Certainly the UN Human Rights Council will feel empowered to continue preparing its blacklist of Israeli companies that do business over the green line, due in March. Meanwhile, the resolution’s mandated reports by the Secretary-General every three months will ensure constant activity.
3. Contrary to U.S. Claims, Resolution Fails to Condemn Palestinian Incitement
You said after the vote that the U.S. “would not have let this resolution pass had it not also addressed counterproductive actions by the Palestinians such as terrorism and incitement to violence.” Yet that is exactly what happened: the resolution that was adopted mentions terrorism and incitement only in the abstract; nowhere are these crimes attributed to Palestinians. Whereas Israel is named and shamed throughout the text, the Palestinians get a free pass. The U.S. reversed decades of past practice by allowing the adoption of such an unbalanced text.
The failure of this resolution to truly confront Palestinian incitement is not inconsistent with your failure to speak out against the routine incitement to antisemitism and terrorism by Palestinian school principals and teachers at UNRWA, to which your Administration gave $380 million last year. We sent you petition after petition, supported by thousands worldwide, yet your only statements on UNRWA have been to defend or promote the organization, not to hold it accountable. I hope you will change your approach when we soon reveal the latest trove of UNRWA’s online incitement.
4. Blames Israel as “Major Obstacle” to Peace, Yet Palestinians Evade Responsibility
Despite the fact that the Palestinians refuse to negotiate without preconditions, refused to negotiate even during Israel’s 2009-2010 settlement freeze, rejected the Kerry framework principles, and are inciting to terrorism at the highest levels, they are spared in the resolution from any blame. Instead, the resolution accuses Israel alone of creating, with the settlements, “a major obstacle” to just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
5. Failure to Distinguish Settlements Loses Israeli Mainstream
By ignoring the 2000 Clinton Parameters, the Obama Administration unwisely managed to alienate itself from the vast majority of the Israeli population and political parties, who regard the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem such as Ramot and Gilo as an integral part of Israel—all of which are defined in the resolution as “occupied Palestinian territory”—and likewise, the Israeli Jewish communities in the large settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion have for years been considered part of the Israeli consensus. The U.S. failure to distinguish between these and isolated, remote settlements is what doomed the U.N. resolution to complete rejection by Israeli society as a whole.
6. Offensive to Call Jerusalem’s Jewish Holy Sites “Occupied Palestinian Territory”
The resolution is offensive to Jews worldwide by absurdly defining the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and the holiest Jewish sites of the Temple Mount and Western Wall, as “occupied Palestinian territory.” In describing your commitment to Israel as both personal and profound, you have on several occasions noted before Jewish and Israeli audiences that your son is a descendant, from his father’s side, of Rabbi Elijah, the 18th-century Lithuanian Jewish sage known as the Vilna Gaon, considered the greatest Talmudic scholar of his time.
Given that the Gaon’s vision of return to the Land of Israel was a decisive factor in the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter, by inspiring hundreds of his disciples to immigrate to Jerusalem in the early 19th century, and given that we are about to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the ancient, indigenous Jewish rights to the Holy Land—formalized internationally in the League of Nations Mandate on Palestine, which stated that the British Administration “shall encourage… close settlement by Jews, on the land”—I hope you will reconsider the logic of now criminalizing Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.
7.  Seeks to Relitigate & Rewrite Cornerstone Resolution 242
By injecting new language enshrining “the 4 June 1967 lines,” the resolution seeks to relitigate and rewrite U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967, the cornerstone of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations over the past half-century—endorsed by the Palestinians at Oslo—which calls for the right of every state to live in peace within “secure and recognized boundaries” and for Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied.”
Your predecessor Arthur Goldberg, former Supreme Court Justice and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. when 242 was enacted, made clear that the text’s “notable omissions in language” on withdrawal are the words “the,” “all,” and the “June 5, 1967, lines.” The choice of language was clear, he explained: “there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967.”
Instead, the resolution “stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.” And it “can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.” Goldberg likewise told King Hussein in the lead-up to 242 that there was a “need for some territorial adjustment.”
8. Explanation of Vote Misstates Longstanding U.S. Policy
Your speech on Friday opened with a 1982 quote from President Ronald Reagan opposing settlements, and you argued that “our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history” of how American presidents have approached the issue. In fact, your speech was selective, excluding material statements by U.S. leaders rejecting the notion of return to the 1949 armistice lines, what Israeli statesman Abba Eban once called “Auschwitz borders.”
  • For example, you failed to quote the rest of President Reagan’s statement, in which he said: “I have personally followed and supported Israel’s heroic struggle for survival, ever since the founding of the State of Israel 34 years ago. In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.
  • Nor did you quote President Lyndon Johnson who said: “We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace. There must be secure, and there must be recognized, borders.”
  • Likewise, you omitted Secretary of State Schultz’s 1988 statement: “The territorial issue needs to be addressed realistically. Israel will never negotiate from or return to the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders.”
  • The Clinton parameters of December 2000, which contemplates Israeli annexation of large settlement blocs, are also ignored by the resolution.
9. U.S. Position Reneges on Commitments in 2004 Bush-Sharon Letters
By allowing the resolution’s new language enshrining “the 4 June 1967 lines,” which are the 1949 armistice lines, the U.S. position reneges on the 2004 exchange of letters negotiated between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush. The Bush letter stated: “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”
Prime Minister Sharon relied on the Bush commitments as part of negotiated package deal, being the consideration Israel received and relied upon in exchange for its total withdrawal from Gaza. When the U.S. ignores written commitments to allies, its international credibility is dangerously diminished. Moreover, the Bush letter severely undermines your claim that the U.S. vote on Friday was “fully in line” with prior history.
10. Resolution Lacks Legitimacy in U.S. Opinion
The resolution has been firmly rejected by the broad mainstream of American society, including by congressional leaders of President Obama’s own party:
  • Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the U.S. vote “frustrating, disappointing and confounding” and said it will move the Middle East farther from peace.\
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was “deeply disappointed” that the administration “set aside longstanding U.S. policy to allow such a one-sided resolution to pass.”
  • The U.S. abstention on “such a flagrantly one-sided resolution,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Vt.), “is unconscionable.”
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he was “dismayed that the Administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the U.N. resolution.”
  • Even President Obama’s former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace opposed the decision. “President Obama would have been wise to veto this resolution,” said George Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader, “because of the timing and the circumstance that it leads to with respect to trying to get the parties together.”
  • The Washington Post called the U.S. decision a “dangerous parting shot at Israel,” likely to do more harm than good.
11. Reverses Decades of U.S. Practice
There has not been a resolution like this in a generation, not since the Carter years in 1979 and 1980, and even those resolutions did not take place during a time of extreme anti-Israeli BDS campaigns and in the context of global anti-Israeli lawfare prosecutions sought in the ICC and elsewhere. This reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. Moreover, unlike with the few other U.S-backed resolutions in history that criticized Israel from time to time, the nature of the coordination and the careful timing of this maneuver against a close ally make it seem particularly deliberate and hostile.
12. Joining with Venezuela & Malaysia to Condemn Israel
Whom you align with at the U.N. matters. I cannot think of another time in modern history when the U.S. endorsed a U.N. Security Council resolution co-sponsored by countries such as Venezuela, whose Maduro regime has thrown its opposition leaders in jail while causing mass starvation, and Malaysia, a hotbed of antisemitism.
Speaking of Venezuela, whose political prisoners we have championed, I have to note that while Secretary Kerry said repeatedly yesterday that the U.S. “cannot, in good conscience, do nothing, and say nothing” in regard to Israeli settlements, your Administration has said nothing every year when we have appealed to you to oppose the election of tyrannies such as Venezuela to the U.N. Human Rights Council. You said nothing to stop the Maduro regime being elected last year; you said nothing to stop Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba from getting elected this year; and you said nothing to stop Russia getting elected in 2013. Your Administration’s policy of speaking out when good conscience requires it ought to be less selective.
I began the letter, dated December 29, as follows:
Dear Ambassador Power,
I write in response to your abstention on Friday which allowed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and in response to the substantial explanation of vote that you delivered. With even further U.N. measures still possible before President Obama leaves office on January 20th, I urge you and the Administration—where you play an influential role as a member of the President’s Cabinet, and as one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors—to reconsider your approach.
Your speech on Friday had much to applaud. As you have vigorously done for three years, your remarks exposed in compelling detail the U.N. double standard applied to the Jewish state, which, you rightly said, “not only hurts Israel, it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself.”
As you noted last year on the 40th anniversary of the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution, at the U.N. “rarely a day goes by without some effort to delegitimize Israel.” On that occasion, you called for everyone to “relentlessly fight back” against this “ignorance and hatred.”
Your vote on Friday, however, makes a dramatic break with all of this. While it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with Israel about settlements, allowing Resolution 2334 to pass was morally wrong and strategically damaging. As set forth below, we believe the U.S. decision to acquiesce in the adoption of this lopsided resolution reverses decades of past practice, sets back the cause of peace, and harms the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans.
Leader’s of Israel’s Left-Wing Opposition Reject U.N. Resolution
Immediate and compelling evidence demonstrates that the Administration has failed to achieve its objective, which you articulated as promoting the two-state solution.
Secretary Kerry’s speech yesterday failed to acknowledge the telling fact that Israel’s mainstream society, including leading supporters of the two-state solution, have sharply rejected the U.N. resolution, and criticized the U.S. role in its advancement and adoption.
  • Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor Party—whom you recently recognized for being “so principled on behalf of peace”—called for Resolution 2334 to be annulled, saying it caused “severe damage.”
  • Similarly, his colleague, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who led efforts to achieve a two-state solution at the Annapolis Conference, and who welcomed the 2008 Security Council resolution endorsing that summit, said by contrast that Friday’s U.S.-backed resolution “harms the interests of Israel,” “harms Jerusalem,” and threatens to haul Israeli officers to the International Criminal Court.
  • Yair Lapid, chair of the Yesh Atid opposition party, who has endorsed the Saudi-Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace talks, and who opposes the proposed Knesset bill to legalize outposts which you cited on Friday, called the U.N. resolution “dangerous”, “unfair, and “an act of hypocrisy.”
  • Ehud Barak, who as prime minister went to Camp David in 2000 and extended an unprecedented and far-reaching peace offer to the Palestinians, called this resolution a “humiliating blow to Israel.”
  • Amos Yadlin, head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, the country’s most influential think tank, and another prominent supporter of the two-state solution, said that the resolution was “extremely problematic for Israel and the peace process alike,” and he accused President Obama of committing “a severe anti-Israeli move” which “harmed the United States’ staunchest ally in the Middle East.”
To be sure, all of these left-leaning figures faulted or admonished Prime Minister Netanyahu for failing to head off the blow. Yet neither President Obama, Secretary Kerry or anyone else in your Administration has yet addressed the astonishing fact that their closest Israeli political allies and interlocutors in promoting the peace process have uniformly denounced an action which you claim will advance their position.
Hamas & Islamic Jihad Terrorists Cheer Resolution: “Now Israel Can Be Isolated, Boycotted, Prosecuted”
By contrast, are you not troubled that among the first to endorse the resolution were the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad? “Hamas commends the countries that voiced their opposition to the Israeli occupation’s aggressive settlement policy aimed against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. Hamas praised “the important about-face in the international position in favor of the Palestinian people.” Iran-backed Islamic Jihad welcomed the U.S.-backed resolution, saying, “It’s plain to see the world opinion is against Israel and its policies,” and “now Israel can be isolated and boycotted, as well as prosecuted in the international arena for all its crimes.”
I concluded the letter as follows:
In conclusion, I ask you to consider what one of your predecessors and role models, the late great Daniel Patrick Moynihan, might have thought about what the U.S. did on Friday.
You cited Moynihan during your confirmation hearing as an iconic American who “stood up for what was right.” And as an example of how to bring the U.N. to live up to its ideals, you have invoked the moral clarity that Moynihan eloquently expressed in his formidable speeches as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in 1975.
We certainly know what Moynihan thought about the Carter Administration’s similar votes against Israel in 1979 and 1980. In his iconic 1981 Commentary essay, “Joining the Jackals,” Moynihan diagnosed the confused ideas which led U.S. delegates and officials to abandon Israel to what the Washington Post editorial board had identified as the pack at the U.N. which hounds Israel shamelessly. Carter, the Post had said, had decided to “join the jackals.”
I believe Moynihan’s observations of 36 years ago are no less apt to the resolution which you just allowed last week:
  • “[F]or the United States to abstain on a Security Council resolution concerning Israel is the equivalent of acquiescing.”
  • “As a direct result of American policy, the Security Council was allowed to degenerate to the condition of the General Assembly.”
  • On a 1979 resolution which used the language “Arab territories… including Jerusalem,” Moynihan said, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. How could its capital be in the territory of others?”
  • Invoking against Israel the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, one of a series of treaties designed to codify the behavior of Nazi Germany and make such behavior criminal under international law, “played perfectly into the Soviet propaganda position that ‘Zionism is present-day fascism.” Needless to say, Friday’s Resolution 2334 invokes the same convention and uses language meant to describe Israel’s building of homes in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria as the U.N. 1947 partition plan called the areas, as war crimes.
Were Moynihan alive today, do you have any doubt that he would have said that on Friday the U.S.—after 36 years—once again joined the jackals?
What we don’t know yet is the degree to which the U.S., directly or indirectly, may have actually orchestrated the maneuver. If that proves to be the case—and based on my knowledge and experience of U.N. diplomacy your Mission had to have played a key role in influencing the language as well as the timing of the resolution—would not Moynihan say that the U.S. this time didn’t just join the jackals, but became leader of the pack?
Thank you for your consideration.
Hillel C.  Neuer
Executive Director
UN Watch
Geneva, Switzerland