The reversal of U.S. policy by President Barack Obama toward Israel at the UN Security Council last month was stunning. His decision not to veto the anti-settlement resolution was inconsistent with prior decisions, substantively flawed, patently punitive, transparently vindictive and potentially very harmful to the actual attainment of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The American action was so shocking it immediately generated angry but incisive commentary from across the political divide in Israel, the United States and countries further afield.
The feeling of betrayal and sense of alarm are justified on the part of Israel, which faces future fallout from Resolution 2334. One key reason is the fact it has the potential to make it illegal to live in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem or even to visit the Western Wall. Once again, the United Nations – this time with the aid of the United States – attempts to strip Jerusalem of any Jewish history and connection.
The decision by Obama has been rightly characterized as a stab in the back.
And the hectoring speech in Washington by his secretary of state, John Kerry, six days after the vote, ostensibly to put forward the administration’s comprehensive Mideast policy, added to the affront. It was condescending, patronizing and insulting.
Apart from his moralistic, supercilious posture telling another country – Israel in this case – what is in its best interest, and apart from his incomplete, distorted historical review of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kerry cloyingly attempted to attach his government’s action to purity of motives.
Kerry proclaimed that the Obama administration “cannot be true to our own values – or even the stated democratic values of Israel – and we cannot properly defend and protect Israel if we allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our own eyes.”
Seldom have such noble words been so cheaply used. They were tinsel props in a self-centred, self-aggrandizing vaudeville soliloquy.
What are the American values that accede to the odious view that Jews not be allowed to live in a future state of Palestine?
What are the American values that gave carte blanche to Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies to brutalize his own people with such cruel, venomous force that the demographic aftershocks are now being felt in Europe as well as the Middle East?
‘The decision by Obama has been rightly characterized as a stab in the back’
What are the American values that empowered the theocratic leaders in Iran to lead and direct the slaughter of Sunni Muslims in Syria and to continue uninterrupted their management and supervision of terror throughout the world?
Since February 2013, some 2,500 Syrian children, women and men have received free medical care at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Ziv Medical Center in Safed, the Medical Center of the Galilee in Nahariya and the Poriah Hospital near Tiberias. This number is in addition to the many thousands of Syrians who have been treated in Israel in makeshift medical treatment centres along the border. It would make an interesting comparison to know if Kerry deployed American values to treat any wounded Syrians in American hospitals.
What we do know, with sad certainty, about Kerry’s vaunted American values is that for the entirety of Obama’s eight years in office, they essentially brought forth no direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In the first days of his administration, Obama declared the settlements illegal and thus gave the Palestinian leaders the pretext to foreswear direct negotiations with Israel unless all settlement activities were frozen. It should be pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas previously had no qualms about negotiating with Ariel Sharon or Ehud Olmert, even through the latter Israeli leaders’ settlement activities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze all settlements for 10 months in accordance with the Obama administration’s request. But even then, Abbas would not negotiate.
The Palestinian hypocrisy is infuriating. The American complicity is devastating.
Mordechai Ben-Dat is a columnist at The CJN.