(December 26, 2016 / JNS) By Abraham H. Miller/JNS.org
The United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements comes in the wake of two other U.N. resolutions, passed by the UNESCO cultural body in October, that denied the historic and biblical relationship between the Jews and the land of Israel. The U.N. can pass resolutions, but it can neither change history nor alter reality.
For the American Jewish community that voted overwhelmingly not once, but twice for President Barack Obama, America’s abstention and refusal to use its veto power on an anti-Israel measure at the U.N. was a betrayal of historic proportions.
For the Jewish alt-left such as the New Israel Fund and J Street, which is supported by mega-donor George Soros, this was a stellar victory. They have clung to the myth that the settlements are obstacles to peace. They seem to have forgotten that Israel gave up Gaza in an anticipated exchange of land for peace while actually risking civil war and yielding land for rockets, missiles and underground terror attacks.
Obama’s removal of the Zionist Organization of America from the table of Jewish advisers and replacing it with J Street was a mile marker on his road to perdition.
Indeed, many liberal Jews not only fail to understand the significance of Obama’s abstention at the U.N., but some naively believe it will move forward the peace process. The absurdity of this position is revealed in the expectation that the Palestinians will now feel compelled to negotiate what the U.N. has already given them. According to the U.N., the Jewish section of eastern Jerusalem is now in Arab territory, as is the Western Wall. Indeed, even bustling portions of the economically thriving parts of main Jerusalem are probably east of the armistice line, according to some interpretations.
If anything, the Obama administration has further undermined any reasonable expectation that the Arab-Israeli conflict will be resolved through negotiations. No Palestinian negotiator can demand less than the U.N. has already given the Palestinians, and no Israeli can give away Israel’s holiest sites or uproot the hundreds of thousands of settlers who dwell east of an armistice line that was never meant or expected to be a border.
The U.N. resolution’s de facto defining of a Palestinian state on the armistice line—the Auschwitz border, as Abba Eban so accurately called it—will never be accepted by Israel no matter how such “democratic” states as Russia, China and Venezuela vote.
The Arabs have had ample opportunity to accept a state alongside a Jewish state going back to the late 1930s, and they have always said “no.” The only reason to have a Palestinian state now is to put another Gaza on Israel’s narrow 12-mile border.
Israel will never accept the conditions of suicide Obama has created for it. But rest assured, Israelis will find in this U.N. resolution new motivation to continue to expand Israel into the disputed territories.
In the words of Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, “History shows there are events which create drastic changes in Israel’s response. History will remember the U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 2334 as the one which brought about Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. No decision will cause Israel to stop building on its own land.”
Far from burnishing Obama’s legacy, this leaves it in flames.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter @salomoncenter.
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